Holiday Picture Book Gift Guide

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

This week I’m talking about Christmas and winter books which would make great gifts for a young child. With one exception these are all books our children enjoyed reading when they were little.



The book on the left (which is the version we have which I read to my children) is good-king-wenceslas-nealout-of-print and there is no photo on Goodreads so I’ve linked to Amazon. The book to the right by John M. Neale looks like it would be a great substitute for the book we read to our kids.

Good King Wenceslas

Illustrator: John Wallner

Age Level: 4 – 10 years

Publication Date: 1990

32 pages

Summary: A retelling of the old song of the good king, who went out into the countryside at Christmas time to share with the poor. Includes music.


We had The Polar Express and read it to our children long before the movie with Tom Hanks.

The Polar Express

Author & Illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg

Age Level: 4 – 7 years

Publication Date: 1985

32 pages

Awards: 1986 Caldecott Winner, Kentucky Bluegrass Award (1987), Buckeye Children’s Book Award for K-2 (1991), Nevada Young Readers’ Award for Primary Category/Picture Book Category (1988), Little Archer Award (1986), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Nominee for Picture Book – Honor Book (1986)

Summary: Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.


Jan Brett’s books are some of my favorites from my children’s childhood. I love the illustrations and stories.

The Mitten

Adapted & Illustrated by: Jan Brett

Age Level: 4 – 8 years

Publication Date: 1989

32 pages

Summary: When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing.

One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax.

As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the boarders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on.

Once again Jan Brett has created a dramatic and beautiful picture book in her distinctive style. She brings the animals to life with warmth and humor, and her illustrations are full of visual delights and details faithful to the Ukrainian tradition from which the story comes.


Our children loved snow and snowy days.

The Snowy Day

Author: Ezra Jack Keats

Age Level: 2-5 years

Publication Date: 1962

40 pages

Award: 1963 Caldecott Medal

Summary: No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.


This was a great fantasy–to go out in the woods on a winter night with our children. But my husband and I were always too tired!

Owl Moon

Author: Jane Yolen

Illustrator: John Schoenherr

Age Level: 3 – 7 years

Publication Date: 1987

32 pages

Award: 1988 Caldecott Medal

Summary: Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.

But there is no answer.

Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don’t need words. You don’t need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn’t an owl, but sometimes there is.

Distinguished author Jane Yolen has created a gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind’s close relationship to the natural world. Wonderfully complemented by award-winning John Schoenherr’s soft, exquisite watercolor illustrations, this is a verbal and visual treasure, perfect for reading aloud and sharing at bedtime.

the-night-before-christmas-brettWhen I was a little girl my father read The Night Before Christmas to my brother and I every Christmas Eve. I have that very old and battered book which I read to our children. I couldn’t find the exact edition we read and our Christmas books are still packed.

The Night Before Christmas: A Poem by Clement Moore

Author: Clement C. Moore

Illustrator: Jan Brett

Age Level: birth to adult!

Publication Date: 1823

32 pages

Summary: Who’s that peeking out of the sleigh?

As St. Nick and eight tiny reindeer descend through a brilliant night sky onto the roof of a Victorian house in a snowy New England village, the famous Christmas poem begins. The father of the family narrates the words just as Clement Moore wrote them, and artist Jan Brett captures the spirit in brilliant illustrations that reflect this memorable night. Visually she extends this favorite Christmas story for children, who will delight in watching the two mischievous stowaways from the North Pole enthusiastically exploring the sacks of gifts on the roof while St. Nick, unaware, journeys down the chimney… until the toys spill down onto the lawn and he turns with a jerk!

Antique toys and exquisite ornaments frame the borders in which sometimes the father, St. Nick, or the family cat and dog look on, as the story unfolds.

A unique and beautiful edition to be cherished for years to come by all the family, especially the youngest, who find the night before Christmas perhaps the most exciting night of the year.


I remember The Grinch from when I was a child and, of course, the TV Christmas special is all mixed up in my mind, too. This is such a classic and well worth reading as well as watching.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Author & Illustrator: Dr. Seuss

Age Level: 5 – 9 years

Publication Date: 1957

64 pages

Summary: “The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.”

Dr. Seuss’s small-hearted Grinch ranks right up there with Scrooge when it comes to the crankiest, scowling holiday grumps of all time. For 53 years, the Grinch has lived in a cave on the side of a mountain, looming above the Whos in Whoville. The noisy holiday preparations and infernal singing of the happy little citizens below annoy him to no end. The Grinch decides this frivolous merriment must stop. His “wonderful, awful” idea is to don a Santa outfit, strap heavy antlers on his poor, quivering dog Max, construct a makeshift sleigh, head down to Whoville, and strip the chafingly cheerful Whos of their Yuletide glee once and for all.

Looking quite out of place and very disturbing in his makeshift Santa get-up, the Grinch slithers down chimneys with empty bags and stealing the Whos’ presents, their food, even the logs from their humble Who-fires. He takes the ramshackle sleigh to Mt. Crumpit to dump it and waits to hear the sobs of the Whos when they wake up and discover the trappings of Christmas have disappeared. Imagine the Whos’ dismay when they discover the evil-doings of Grinch in his anti-Santa guise. But what is that sound? It’s not sobbing, but singing! Children simultaneously adore and fear this triumphant, twisted Seussian testimonial to the undaunted cheerfulness of the Whos, the transcendent nature of joy, and of course, the growth potential of a heart that’s two sizes too small.


This is a book I’d forgotten about, but my daughter reminded me about it and now that I see the cover I remember it, too.

Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad

Author & Illustrator: Mercer Mayer

Age Level: 3 – 7 years

Publication Date: 1982

24 pages

Summary: Little Critter approaches Christmas with the intention of being a good helper. When he makes a mistake, he has a logical explanation. He couldn’t wrap the Christmas package because the tape got too sticky. He couldn’t buy his parents a present because there were too many toys to look at. He couldn’t put up the tree lights because they were just too tangled. Little Critter means well, but every funny illustration shows him as tangled up as the Christmas lights.


Beautiful illustrations and a great book for very young children since it’s just the illustrations.

The Snowman

Author & Illustrator: Raymond Briggs

Age Level: 0 – 3 years

Publication Date: 1978

32 pages

Awards: Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1979), Zilveren Griffel (1979), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Book (1979)

Summary: Illustrated in full color, this is a wordless story. The pictures have “the hazy softness of air in snow.” A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

the-twelve-days-of-christmas-in-canadaI have a nephew-in-law who is Canadian and his children have this book. His four year old daughter “read” it to our adult daughter over Skype!

The Twelve Days of Christmas in Canada

Author: Ellen Warwick

Illustrator: Kimberly Smith

Age Level: 5 – 8 years old

Publication Date: 2015

40 pages

Summary: O Canada, in Christmastime! Come with Juliette and her “crazy Canuck cousin” as they take a holiday trip across the country, all the way from Prince Edward Island and Vieux-Québec to Winnipeg and Vancouver. Along the way Juliette gets really cool Canadian gifts—like 8 bears a-swimming, 6 Mounties marching, and a loon in a maple tree!


This isn’t the edition I read to my kids, but I think the illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger are beautiful. And the story is a wonderful one to read to children when trying to show the wonder of giving a gift.

The Gift of the Magi

Author: O Henry

Age Level: 8 – 12 years

Publication Date: 1905

26 pages

Summary: One dollar and eight-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure—her long, beautiful brown hair. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century, this classic piece of American literature tells the story of a young couple and the sacrifices each must make to buy the other a gift.









Sunday Post: November 27


This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

I’ve been absent from my blog for awhile. I had too many things going on and just couldn’t concentrate on my blog much for a few weeks. I’m hoping to do more blogging and also catch up on what other people are blogging about, too. I’ve missed you all!

I’m not promising too much though since the Christmas season is starting. I love Christmas and hope to make cookies and bread and I still have some Christmas cards to make and then send out. Our children are coming to spend Christmas with us and I’m excited about our first Christmas in this house.

Some of the under 50 crowd at our Thanksgiving!
Some of the under 50 crowd at our Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was the 50th Thanksgiving celebration my father-in-law (and mother-in-law when she was alive) had hosted. Almost 100 people attended and it was wonderful to catch up with family, enjoy all the activities and traditions and to see new babies who were born this year. (Two of the babies were born on the same day to two sisters!)

It was also time for me to reflect on all the things I am grateful for this year: my husband, my three children, our large extended family, our retirement and move to Iowa. And especially for my husband and I being uninjured when we struck a deer with our car this fall. And most especially for my husband–although he has cancer–the cancer it is treatable, he has wonderful doctors, a great attitude and a good prognosis.


I plan to do more posts and more blog reading, just not sure what and when yet. My husband has chemotherapy treatments at the end of the week so I’m playing it by ear. I have read some good books these past few weeks. Reading is always my solace when I can’t do other things.

My books

What I’m reading

Death at the Fair by Catherine Lloyd

What I read recently

The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths

Among the Departed by Elly Griffiths

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis & Barbara Ross

Dead in the Water by Aline Templeton

Lamb to the Slaughter by Aline Templeton

New E-books purchased

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Silent City by Carrie Smith

A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?




Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon Update

hohohorat2016buttonThis week I’m participating in the Ho-Ho-H0 Readathon (from Nov 9 – 15). It’s hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and is so much fun.

the-magic-of-christmasI finished my first book!

The Magic of Christmas by Sarah Morgan

I enjoyed The Magic of Christmas. It’s a Harlequin Medical Romance which is the Harlequin line I like the most. Sarah Morgan is also one of my favorite contemporary romance authors.

I like the medical aspects of the book (in a London Emergency Department). I also really like the Christmas aspects of the book and the two young girls in the book–Dr. Christian Blake’s daughters. He’s a handsome doctor in the ED and Lara King is a smart, pretty ED nurse. You can all guess what happens next! Sarah Morgan’s characters are always vivid.

Romances aren’t something I read too often anymore, but I enjoyed the Christmas setting, the medical aspects, and the characters. I would give this a B- rating.

What I’m reading now!envious-casca

Envious Casca: Inspector Hemingway series by Georgette Heyer (audiobook)

Envious Casca is one of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries. She mostly wrote Historical Regency Romances, but she did write a few mysteries. This book includes a recurring Scotland Yard detective–Inspector Hemingway. Ms. Heyer wrote four books with this character.

The book includes a house party at Christmas and a locked room murder–classic mystery staples! I’m not very far into the story and I’m enjoying it so far!

eggnog-murderEggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis & Barbara Ross

Three short stories:

  • “Eggnog Murder” by Leslie Meier
  • “Death by Eggnog” by Lee Hollis
  • “Nogged Off” by Barbara Ross

I’m reading “Eggnog Murder.” This is part of the Lucy Stone series. I’ve read a couple other books in this series: Mistletoe Murder and Trick or Treat Murder and like Lucy and the Maine setting.

I’m enjoying the story. I like that the series has moved forward: Lucy’s children are older and her oldest is living in Paris now! I like that the book shows the problems every family has and those often are exacerbated during Christmas! The mystery is good so far, too!




Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon Goals

HoHoHo Readathon Goals

I enjoy participating in the Ho-Ho-H0 Readathon every year. It’s hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and is so much fun.

Besides reading or listening to books there are challenges to participate in as well as a twitter party (on Nov 15). And we can twitter our progress at #HoHoHoRAT.

Goals for Readathon

  • Read three Christmas/winter themed books
  • I hope I can take part in at least one challenge.
  • I want to tweet my progress during the week and participate in the twitter party.
  • I shared a favorite Christmas cookie recipe last year and hope to do the same this year.


I had this goal post written before my husband got sick. Because I’m going to focus on him especially the next couple of weeks my main participation is going to be reading. If I get anything else done that will be great, but I just have to see how it goes.

Books I’ll choose from

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany

Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis & Barbara Ross

Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek

The Magic of Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Envious Casca: Inspector Hemingway series by Georgette Heyer

I also have a number of holiday romance short story anthologies so I may pick a story here and there from them.

If you haven’t signed up for this readathon check it out on Kimba’s website. It’s fun!









Sunday Post: Nov 6


This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

I wasn’t in Blogdom or the internet much this week. My husband was in the hospital all week. He may get out of the hospital on Monday or Tuesday. We finally received a diagnosis on Thursday: Cancer. However, the type of cancer is very slow-growing and treatable which is good. They think he will be in remission after chemotherapy and radiation. They’ve already started both.

This means I probably won’t be around much for awhile. I know I will continue to read. That’s my stress reliever. I am going to try to catch up on reviews.

Blog posts

Blog posts for next week

I don’t know what blog posts I will get done

My books

What I’m reading
  • Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
  • Casting Bones by Don Bruns
What I read

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library


What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?


November books on my list

These are thebooks-on-my-list November books on my list. Each month I keep a list of books that interest me based on the author, synopsis, genre or sometimes just the cover! My favorite genres: Mysteries–especially police procedurals; Science Fiction–especially military science fiction and space opera; Fantasy–especially urban fantasy.

I don’t buy all these books since I already have lots of books to read and I feel lucky if I get 10 books read each month. But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of the books.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to interest them and also hope anyone who comments will point me toward books I missed.

November 1

the-burning-lightThe Burning Light

by Bradley P. Beaulieu & Rod Ziegler

Series: Unknown

Published by

Genre: Science Fiction Novella

192 pages

Synopsis: Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying.

A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.

A thrilling and all-too believable science fiction novella from the authors of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai and Seed.

congress-of-secretsCongress of Secrets

by Stephanie Burgis

Series: Unknown

Published by Pyr

Genre: Fantasy

340 pages

Synopsis: In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy.

Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhüller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever.

The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?

shadowed-soulsShadowed Souls

Edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes

Series: The Dresden File #14.5

Published by Roc

Genre: Urban Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: In this dark and gritty collection—featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman—nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil..

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Molly Carpenter—Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady—must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad…

New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything “weird.” They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

In New York Times bestselling Kevin J. Anderson’s Eye of Newt, Zombie P.I. Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner…

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals wih some overdue—and nightmarish—vengeance involving some quite nasty Impossible Monsters .


Tanya Huff * Kat Richardson * Jim C. Hines * Anton Strout * Lucy A. Snyder * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Erik Scott de Bie *

babylons-ashesBabylon’s Ashes

by James S.A. Corey

Series: The Expanse #6

Published by Orbit

Genre: Science Fiction

448 pages

Synopsis: The sixth novel in James S.A. Corey’s New York Times bestselling Expanse series–now a new original series from the Syfy Channel, coming December 14th 2015.

 The final war has started. The protomolecule, fairly quiescent since the opening of the gates, has identified its enemy and is arming itself for battle. Humanity is at most a tool in its post-human arsenal. When people, ships, and even places begin to disappear, Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have to face the fact that the thing they’ve been hauling through the depths of space only appears to be Detective Miller. The time when the protomolecule’s agenda and humanity’s overlapped has passed.

As the protomolecule takes control of the ancient networks and relays, the final battle begins. Holden and his allies are faced with the decision of whether to blow the gates, trapping humanity in beads of disconnected worlds, or engage in a battle that they can only lose no matter who wins.

the-lost-child-of-lychfordThe Lost Child of Lychford

by Paul Cornell

Series: Lychford #2

Published by

Genre: Fantasy Novella

136 pages

Synopsis: It’s December in the English village of Lychford – the first Christmas since an evil conglomerate tried to force open the borders between our world and… another.

Which means it’s Lizzie’s first Christmas as Reverend of St. Martin’s. Which means more stress, more expectation, more scrutiny by the congregation. Which means… well, business as usual, really.

Until the apparition of a small boy finds its way to Lizzie in the church. Is he a ghost? A vision? Something else? Whatever the truth, our trio of witches (they don’t approve of “coven”) are about to face their toughest battle, yet!

The Lost Child of Lychford is the sequel to Paul Cornell’s Witches of Lychford.

the-champagne-conspiracyThe Champagne Conspiracy

by Ellen Crosby

Series: Wine Country Mysteries #7

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

368 pages

Synopsis: Winter has come to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard in Atoka, Virginia. Lucie Montgomery and winemaker Quinn Santori have decided to make champagne, a first for the vineyard.

But then Gino Tomassi, Quinn’s uncle, turns up on their doorstep one afternoon, demanding help in solving the mystery of what happened to Zara Tomassi, the first wife of his grandfather, who died in a San Francisco hotel in 1923 under suspicious circumstances. And it seems there’s no coincidence that her death came the day after President Warren Harding passed away in that same hotel. Gino needs answers before his blackmailer takes him for all he’s worth―or exposes an explosive family secret.

Lucie searches for what happened almost a hundred years ago as she delves into Prohibition-era Washington, D.C.―a town of bootlegging and duplicity, jazz clubs and speakeasies. But then the investigation turns deadly, threatening Lucie, her relationship with Quinn, and the vineyard, as they realize someone is still out there nearly a century later who will go to any lengths to keep the truth about Zara’s death a buried secret.

we-wish-you-a-murderous-christmasWe Wish You a Murderous Christmas

by Vicki Delany

Series: Year-Round Christmas Mystery series #2

Published by Berkley

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

304 pages

Synopsis: A grinch is spoiling the holiday cheer and causing fear in the latest from the author of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen…

It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack’s health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn.

But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn, and Merry and the other shopkeepers start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.

When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays…

willful-child-wrath-of-bettyWillful Child: Wrath of Betty

by Steven Erickson

Series: Willful Child #2

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

336 pages

Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new SF novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous, and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space…

The continuing adventures of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the…

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.’

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen series has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankindexploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-ofhigh-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.

suddenly-at-homeSuddenly at Home

by Graham Ison

Series: Unknown

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Mystery

192 pages

Synopsis: The latest case for Brock & Poole leads to a trip abroad . . . and tragedy at home.

When Richard Cooper is found shot to death in his luxury apartment in North Sheen, London, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Brock and Detective Sergeant Dave Poole are assigned the case. They immediately question Dennis Jones, who found Cooper s lifeless body, and Lydia Maxwell, who lived in the apartment opposite but is either of them telling the truth?

Richard Cooper appears to have been a very private man who left few clues behind. As the investigation gathers pace, however, a trip to Belgium could signal the possible unravelling of the mystery. But it soon becomes clear that the hunt for a determined killer could lead to tragedy for Harry and his team.

the-fisher-kingThe Fisher King

by Melissa Lenhardt

Series: Jack McBride #2

Published by Skyhorse Publishing

Genre: Mystery

380 pages

Synopsis: When the dust settles in this Texas town, who will be left standing?

It’s been six weeks since Jack McBride’s life went to hell: the resolution of his first case as chief sparked a countywide drug war, his brother Eddie rode into town with a pocket full of cocaine and trouble on his mind, his estranged wife returned from her one-year sabbatical determined to win him back, and Ellie Martin ended their brief affair.

To the Stillwater natives, the increase in local crime can be traced directly back to the day the outsider McBride took the job, and they’re gunning to get rid of him. One particular group is led by Joe Doyle, a successful local businessman who’s running for city council against Ellie and her plan to revitalize downtown. Now Jack has discovered proof Doyle is the biggest crime lord in the county, and, with murders piling up and the drug war intensifying, Jack suspects the crimes aren’t business, but personal—and he’s the target.

The bitter election and Jack’s investigation spark old rivalries and new jealousies, making Ellie and those who love Stillwater most wonder if it’s even worth saving.

inherit-the-bonesInherit the Bones

by Emily Littlejohn

Series: Gemma Monroe #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Secrets and lies can’t stay buried forever in Cedar Valley.

In the summer, hikers and campers pack the small Colorado town’s meadows and fields. And in the winter, skiers and snowboarders take over the mountains. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep.

Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost forty years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe’s investigation takes her from the seedy grounds of a traveling circus to the powerful homes of those who would control Cedar Valley’s future.

Six-months pregnant, with a partner she can’t trust and colleagues who know more than they’re saying, Gemma tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried.

den-of-wolvesDen of Wolves

by Juliet Marillier

Series: Blackthorn & Grim #3

Published by Roc

Genre: Fantasy

448 pages

Synopsis: Feather bright and feather fine, None shall harm this child of mine…

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies…

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone…

an-import-of-intrigueAn Import of Intrigue

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: The Maradaine Constabulary #2

Published by DAW

Genre: Fantasy Mystery

389 pages

Synopsis: Mixing high fantasy and mystery, this is Marshall Ryan Maresca’s second novel in the Maradaine Constabulary series, companion to DAW’s Maradaine Novels.

The neighborhood of the Little East is a collision of cultures, languages, and traditions, hidden away in the city of Maradaine. A set of streets to be avoided or ignored. When a foreign dignitary is murdered, solving the crime falls to the most unpopular inspectors in the Maradaine Constabulary: exposed fraud Satrine Rainey, and uncircled mage Minox Welling.

With a murder scene deliberately constructed to point blame toward the Little East, Rainey is forced to confront her former life, while Welling’s ignorance of his own power threatens to consume him. And these few city blocks threaten to erupt into citywide war unless the constabulary solves the case.

the-burning-isleThe Burning Isle

by Will Panzo

Series: Unknown

Published by Ace

Genre: Fantasy

304 pages

Synopsis: A powerful and gripping debut grimdark fantasy novel, set in a world of criminals, pirates, assassins, and magic…

“A man has only three reasons for being anywhere: to right a wrong, to earn a coin, or because he is lost.”

Cassius is not lost…

The mage Cassius has just arrived on the island of Scipio. Five miles of slum on the edge of fifty miles of jungle, Scipio is a lawless haven for criminals, pirates, and exiles. The city is split in two, each half ruled by a corrupt feudal lord. Both of them answer to a mysterious general who lives deep in the jungle with his army, but they still constantly battle for power. If a man knows how to turn their discord to his advantage, he might also turn a profit…

But trained on the Isle of Twelve, Cassius is no ordinary spellcaster, and his goal is not simply money. This a treacherous island where the native gods are restless, and anything can happen…

say-no-moreSay No More

by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Series: Jane Ryland #5

Published by Forge Books

Genre: Mystery

384 pages

Synopsis: When Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit and run, she soon learns she saw more than a car crash—she witnessed the collapse of an alibi. Working on an expose of sexual assaults on college campuses for the station’s new documentary unit, Jane’s just convinced a date rape victim to reveal her heartbreaking experience on camera. However, a disturbing anonymous message—SAY NO MORE—has Jane really and truly scared.

Homicide detective Jake Brogan is on the hunt for the murderer of Avery Morgan, a hot-shot Hollywood screenwriter. Her year as a college guest lecturer just ended at the bottom of her swimming pool in the tight-knit and tight-lipped Boston community called The Reserve. As Jake chips his way through a code of silence as shatterproof as any street gang, he’ll learn that one newcomer to the neighborhood may have a secret of her own.

A young woman faces a life-changing decision—should she go public about her assault? Jane and Jake—now semi-secretly engaged and beginning to reveal their relationship to the world—are both on a quest for answers as they try to balance the consequences of the truth.

unquiet-landUnquiet Land

by Sharon Shinn

Series: Elemental Blessings #4

Published by Ace

Genre: Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: Leah Frothen has returned home. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned by regent Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in…

Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago.

But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, Leah soon learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

November 8

remnants-of-trustRemnants of Trust

by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Series: Central Corps #2

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

528 pages

Synopsis: In this follow-up to the acclaimed military science fiction thriller The Cold Between, a young soldier finds herself caught in the crosshairs of a deadly conspiracy in deep space

Six weeks ago, Commander Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster were court-martialed for their role in an event Central Gov denies ever happened. Yet instead of a dishonorable discharge or time in a military prison, Shaw and Foster and are now back together on Galileo. As punishment, they’ve been assigned to patrol the nearly empty space of the Third Sector.

But their mundane mission quickly turns treacherous when the Galileo picks up a distress call: Exeter, a sister ship, is under attack from raiders. A PSI generation ship—the same one that recently broke off negotiations with Foster—is also in the sector and joins in the desperate battle that leaves ninety-seven of Exeter’s crew dead.

An investigation of the disaster points to sabotage. And Exeter is only the beginning. When the PSI ship and Galileo suffer their own “accidents,” it becomes clear that someone is willing to set off a war in the Third Sector to keep their secrets, and the clues point to the highest echelons of power . . . and deep into Shaw’s past.

the-man-who-wanted-to-know-everythingThe Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

by D.A. Mishani

Series: Avraham Avraham #3

Published by Harper Paperbacks

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Inspector Avraham Avraham is back in this sequel to the acclaimed thrillers A Possibility of Violence and The Missing File—internationally bestselling author D. A. Mishani’s The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything is a hauntingly psychological domestic noir, perfect for fans of Alafair Burke or Liad Shoham.

Called on a stormy night to the scene of his first murder investigation as the new commander of investigations, Inspector Avraham Avraham is shocked to discover that he knows the victim: Leah Yeger, a widow found brutally murdered in her home and the victim of a rape that he investigated some years prior. But with her rapist still behind bars, Avraham’s only lead is an eyewitness claiming he saw a policeman leave the scene of the crime—a policeman who seems to have since vanished into thin air.

Risking the cooperation of his police force, Avraham is determined to follow the lead, working feverishly to solve the case—no matter the cost. But when his investigation leads him to Mazal Bengtson—a young woman struggling to escape a tortured past and salvage a marriage gone horribly wrong—the complex case takes on an even more baffling, disturbing turn…

Told through the dual perspectives of Inspector Avraham and Mazal Bengtson, The Man Who Wanted To Know Everything is a chilling investigation of secrets, family, and what happens when the people you love may not be who you think.

after-atlasAfter Atlas

by Emma Newman

Series: Planetfall series

Published by Roc

Genre: Science Fiction

336 pages

Synopsis: Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes…

the-iron-beastThe Iron Beast

by Andy Remic

Series: A Song for No Man’s Land series

Published by

Genre: Fantasy

176 pages

Synopsis: A war is being waged in an impossible world.

The Skogsgra and the Naravelle have launched their final offensive, and Private Jones and his companions are caught in the melee.

Tens of thousands will die before the battle is over.

They travel deep underground, to find and release the Iron Beast… the one creature that can end not one world war, but two.

But at what cost . . . ?

November 15

food-anatomyFood Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible World

by Julia Rothman

Series: Anatomy series

Published by Storey Publication, LLC

Genre: Nonfiction

224 pages

Synopsis: Get your recommended daily allowance of facts and fun with Food Anatomy, the third book in Julia Rothman’s best-selling Anatomy series. She starts with an illustrated history of food and ends with a global tour of street eats. Along the way, Rothman serves up a hilarious primer on short order egg lingo and a mouthwatering menu of how people around the planet serve fried potatoes — and what we dip them in. Award-winning food journalist Rachel Wharton lends her editorial expertise to this light-hearted exploration of everything food that bursts with little-known facts and delightful drawings. Everyday diners and seasoned foodies alike are sure to eat it up. 

November 16

secrets-and-shamrocksSecrets and Shamrocks

by Phyllis Gobbell

Series:  Jordon Mayfair Mystery #2

Published by Five Star Publishing

Genre: Mystery

??? pages

Synopsis: Meadows, hedgerows, and tree-lined lanes welcome Jordan Mayfair to County Tipperary, Ireland. She’s traveling again with her uncle, travel writer Alexander Carlyle. Their destination is a charming little town, Thurles (pronounced Tur-lis), where old friends, Colin and Grace O’Toole, own Shepherds Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast. They arrive at the B&B in the midst of a search for a missing toddler. The secrecy surrounding Little Jimmie’s disappearance and safe return sets the tone for their stay at Shepherds, where secrets are as plentiful as shamrocks.

While Alex visits the spectacular sights in the region for his travel guide, Jordan is drawn into the dramas of the townspeople. From the warm and welcoming B&B to the traditional Irish pub, Finnegan’s, where music is “the very air that we breathe,” the guests and locals harbor secrets that put Jordan at risk.

Colin and Grace have their own secrets. Their unstable daughter, Bridget, may be charged with the murder of a well-respected doctor. Bridget, Little Jimmie’s mother, has run away to the woods to the cottage of an old woman named Magdala, a believer in leprechauns and fairies. Jordan’s visit to the cottage alerts her “architect’s eye.” Her discovery of a “priest hole” will eventually put her―and Alex―in the most perilous situation yet.

November 29

death-comes-to-the-fairDeath Comes to the Fair

by Catherine Lloyd

Series: Kurland St. Mary Mystery #4

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: It’s harvest time in the village of Kurland St. Mary as Lucy and Robert prepare to take their vows—but a murderer has taken an unseasonable vow of vengeance . . .

As Miss Lucy Harrington, daughter of the village rector, and Major Sir Robert Kurland plan their nuptials, the major is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever hear wedding bells. He’s seen complex military campaigns that involved less strategy, and he’s finding Lucy’s meddling family maddening.

When the body of Ezekiel Thurrock, the church verger, is discovered crushed by a stone gargoyle that has fallen from the bell tower, the tragic death strikes a somber note and the wedding is delayed. But the evidence suggests this was no accident, and Lucy wonders if bad blood at the village fair had anything to do with the man’s mysterious demise, since there was much bitterness over Ezekiel’s prizewinning vegetables.

As Lucy and Robert uncover long-standing village feuds, the town’s dark secrets begin to take their toll and the couple soon finds they too are in grave danger . . .


What books are you excited about this month?









Waiting on Wednesday: November 2

I am participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.


crossroads-on-canopyCrossroads of Canopy

by Thoraiya Dyer

Series: Titan’s Forest #1

Genre: Fantasy

Publication date: January 31

Synopsis: At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.

Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she yearns to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy’s slaves.

When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance…or grant it by destroying the home she loves..


The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • This caught my eye initially because of the books about the Raksura written by Martha Wells. That’s one of my favorite series.
  • The Raksura often live in trees, but that sounds like the only similarity to this book!
  • From the synopsis I would say a lot of this book will depend upon what kind of character Unar is.
  • There are lots of books about the haves and have-nots so I’m hoping this book puts a different spin on it.