Taking care of animals: Veterinarians and What They Do by Liesbet Slegers

First, the illustrations in this book are so appealing and adorable!  They absolutely enhance the text.  This book is for young children.  It begins by demystifying what a vet does.  This will be helpful for children who need to take their pet to see the vet.  The book then gives two examples of the vet at work.  One case is about a dog and the other a pony.  Both animals recover well of course.

I found this book to be very cute and a nice introduction to the field of veterinary medicine.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this read in exchange for an honest review.

#VeterinariansAndWhatTheyDo #NetGalley

Now out: Look, It’s Raining by Mathieu Pierloot, Maria Dek

Where I live, there has been a lot of rain recently, so this book was a fun reminder of what rain can mean to a child. Camille is bored; her parents are ignoring her and so she decides to amuse herself. When she gets outside and it is raining, Camille discovers the joy in this weather. While on her adventure, she meets some insects and follows them to see something special. When Camille returns home, she encourages her parents to go for a walk with her.

The above is the simple synopsis of the story. In addition, there are lovely illustrations that abound with a love of nature. Save this one for a rainy day read with a child you know.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e galley in return for an honest review.

Reach for the Stars: Mae Jemison by Rachel Castro

This book is part of a series on “Stem Superstars” that is written for early elementary school students.  This story of Mae Jemison will inspire young children who are interested in science, medicine and space.

This is a short, simply written book that is full of excellent photos.  Readers will learn about all that Dr. Jemison studiend on her way to becoming an astronaut.  They will see that she has led a very impressive life.

The book is enhanced with “Did You Know” facts.  It also includes suggestions for activities, definitions and a list of additional resources.  This book will be a welcome addition to the library or home shelves of aspiring scientists.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.

#MaeJemison #NetGalley

So glad to spend time with this book: A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie

I was thrilled to receive this novel from NetGalley and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. I have read every book in this series of very British mysteries that, surprisingly, are written by an American author who lives in Texas. A Bitter Feast is book 18 in this fine series that has deepened over time. If you can, read the books in order for the people, the history and the relationships but, if you can’t, this could be read as a standalone.

Detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones, who married many books ago, are invited to the country with their three children (Backstories on the children appear in earlier books as only one is the shared child of both Gemma and Duncan). They are invited by another police officer, Melody Talbot (again backstory in earlier novels), to her parents beautiful Cotswold home for the weekend. The descriptions of the countryside and the house will make you wish that you could hop a plane, unless you already live in Britain.

Of course, there are murders. There is also lots of food as chefs are important characters in the story. Why was a famous chef murdered? Why was his demise followed by others? And of course, whodunnit? I thought that I knew but I was wrong.

My only regret upon finishing A Bitter Feast was knowing that I now have to again begin the wait for the next book by this author. If you like traditional British mysteries/police procedurals, I highly recommend.

#AbitterFeast #NetGalley

Editorial Reviews


A Bitter Feast is a rich banquet for mystery lovers. Three cheers for the chef, Deborah Crombie!”
(Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author)

“Nobody writes the modern English mystery the way Deborah Crombie does—and A Bitter Feast is the latest in a series that is gripping, enthralling, and just plain the best.” (Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Ascot and A Cruel Deception)

“This character-driven series just continues to get better.” (Booklist (starred review))

Dream and build big: Little People, Big Dreams-Zaha Hadid byMaria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

This is another wonderful entry in the Little People, Big Dreams series.  This book tells the story of a young Muslim girl who, when she grew up, became a respected architect.  As an architect, Zaha Hadid had a unique vision which included curvilinear constructions.

Young readers will see how this imaginative child became a capable and formidable architect.  Knowing about her  will encourage girls to not be held back by nationality, religion or wanting to succeed in a male dominated field.  Most definitely an empowering message.

The illustrations are a bit cartoon like but nevertheless appealing.  There is a time line with photos at the end of the book.

Once again, many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto for this book in exchange for an honest review.  I truly love this broad based series.

#ZahaHadid #NetGalley

Now out: The Big Book of Monsters by Hal Johnson

When my kids were little we used to read a Sesame Street book that started this way: “Follow the Monsters wherever they go, sometimes they’re fast, sometimes their slow…” This toddler book reminds me that kids are interested in monsters (Cookie and otherwise) from a young age. If you know a little monster who is interested in monsters, get them this book.

The author retells the stories of many monsters in a way that felt like hearing a story or fairy tale. Some of the many featured monsters are Apep (from Ancient Egypt), Beatrice Rappaccini (Hawthorne), Dorian Gray (Wilde), Frankenstein (Shelley), and The Weird Sisters (Shakespeare). Each entry includes additional facts including the category of monster, Base of Operations, Timing, Powers, Deeds, Fear Factor, Weakness, etc. There are additional sections that enlarge upon each monster’s tale; for example, in the Dracula section, one can read Dear Dracula and The Grisly Tale of Elizabeth Siddal.

This book is a wonderful compilation of monsters, their stories and more. It will be welcomed by those who like the weird and wonderful.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for this (scary…not really but good) read. All opinions are my own.
#TheBigBookOfMonsters #NetGalley

Now out: Death in Focus by Anne Perry

Death in Focus: An Elena Standish Novel

Kudos to Anne Perry! She is not an author who rests on her laurels. Ms. Perry recently started a series with Daniel Pitt, son of long-term series regulars Thomas and Charlotte and now, she has started a series featuring Elena Standish. This novel takes place as Hitler is rising to power in Germany.

The characters in the family…Elena is an aspiring photographer. Her sister Margot was widowed shortly after marrying during WWI. Grandfather Lucas was in MI6 during WWI and maintains his connections. His wife, also was active in the war. Then there are Elena’s parents Charles and his wife Katherine. He is a diplomat; she is American. There are many characters not in the family, from the Jewish population in Berlin to the Brownshirts to those who are busy plotting and to Cordell at the British Embassy.

The settings in the novel are vividly described. The book opens in the shadow of Vesuvius where tourists are creating their reality, away from their daily concerns. It is here that Elena meets Ian, a man who sets her on a perilous mission. Thanks to Ms. Perry, i felt like I was on the train with them, right there in the compartment as the talked about themselves. There are so many equally vivid scenes. To mention a few, a British diplomat goes to lunch with Hitler and t he reader feels him sweating; a book burning takes place and the crowd watching is alive in the reader’s mind, a train hurtles toward Paris from Berlin and the reader feels the anxiety of the characters who need to escape quickly.

There are murders and conspiracies and Elena is clearly in peril. The plot does center on some coincidences but I was willing to accept that. The ending of the novel is a crescendo of events with a clear sense of unresolved issues for future novels or at least that is my hope.

I loved Death in Focus, a novel with rich and vivid characters who are trying to make their way in a world that was for ever changed by WW I and is now hurtling toward another war. There are some parallels to our world today in terms of the author’s description of how people who feel they have nothing, feel better when they have a group to hate.

I highly recommend this novel. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this e galley in exchange for my honest review.

Other reviews

“[Anne Perry] has found the perfect time period to showcase a family’s impassioned defense of democracy and social justice in the face of rising totalitarianism. . . . Obvious comparisons to Charles Todd’s Bess Crawford and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs are warranted, but this novel also hearkens back to Helen MacInnes’s classic spy thrillers and Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels. At turns heartbreaking and action-packed, this gripping and superbly written story proves Perry still has what it takes.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Elena’s many narrow escapes and Perry’s immersive re-creation of Nazi-era Europe will keep readers enthralled by this series debut. The numerous characters working behind the scenes both for and against Elena—her beloved grandfather, for example, who is the former head of MI6—are well drawn, but it is the smart, gritty heroine herself who will ensure that readers eagerly anticipate the next in the series.”Booklist