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Holly Scudero has commented on (54) products.

One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne
One Gorilla: A Counting Book

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

How many chimpanzees do you see? How many gibbons? Lemurs? Baboons? Practice counting from one to ten with Anthony Browne's beautifully-illustrated new book “One Gorilla.” Ten distinct kinds of primates are featured in these gorgeous, full-page illustrations, eleven if you include the delightfully diverse two-page spread of humans. Who knew there were so many kinds of monkeys in the world? The only way this book could be better would be if it counted to twenty, or even higher; Browne's depictions of other species would surely be just as enjoyable to look at! Children will love the pictures and practicing their numbers, while adults will enjoy showing their little ones some of their favorite animals from the zoo. And parents will likely appreciate the eloquent message of unity at the end of the book, a message that cannot be expressed often enough. You won't find much in the way of new vocabulary in these pages, but don't be surprised if your children bring this one back to you again and again and again.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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Liar's Blade (Pathfinder Tales) by Tim Pratt
Liar's Blade (Pathfinder Tales)

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

Rodrick is a rogue in every sense of the word: he is smart, witty, charming, and above all self-serving. Together with his magical talking sword, called Hrym, Rodrick spends his days taking on quests that serve to line his pockets with gold, especially if he can con those who hired him in the first place. So when a mysterious woman specifically seeks the duo out to hire them for a job, Rodrick and Hrym readily accept. Travel to an ancient location in the cold northern lands and recover an ancient artifact for a priest? Sounds like a good opportunity to accept a rich reward and steal the artifact too! But as the journey progresses, the situation becomes decidedly... odd. Rodrick's benefactors change their story too frequently, and something just doesn't add up. This quest just might test where the duo's morals really lie.

Like all of the novels in the “Pathfinder Tales” series, “Liar's Blade” is all kinds of fun. The main character is a scoundrel, pure and simple, and readers will love him. His mysterious sword is an interesting twist, and the two of them interacting with one another are one of the best parts of this book. For a well-written stand-alone fantasy novel, pick up “Liar's Blade;” you won't be disappointed!

This review originally written for Another Universe.
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The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee
The Typewriter Girl

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

Betsey Dobson is not your typical turn-of-the-century English woman. All she wants is to make a life and a career for herself, and she is willing to do what it takes to get there. After getting fired from her typewriting job at an insurance agency, Betsey takes a chance and takes a job planning excursions in the seaside resort of Indensea. The job may not last more than a season, but Betsey is determined to prove herself nonetheless. She finds an ally in John Jones, the man who hired her, the man who believes in her for some reason. Betsey and John find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another, but will Betsey be able to allow herself to be loved?

Alison Atlee's “The Typewriter Girl” has an interesting premise and a surprisingly likeable main character; Betsey has a bit of a reputation as a woman of loose morals, but she doesn't let her past stand in her way of getting what she wants. If anything, her honesty and openness are a delightful counter to her feisty nature, and readers will find themselves hoping she gets her own happy ending. This novel is well-written and enjoyable.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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A Spear of Summer Grass (No) by Deanna Raybourn
A Spear of Summer Grass (No)

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

Delilah Drummond is a 1920s socialite, the talk of the town in whatever town she happens to currently live in, whether it's Paris or New Orleans. But when her most recent husband dies of suicide and leaves a set of priceless family jewels to her, Delilah finds herself in a bit of hot water; on the advice of her family and her lawyer, Delilah sets off for her ex-step-father's estate in Africa, where she will pass the time until the press forgets this latest scandal. But she never expected to fall in love with this wild country, or the people in it. Delilah finds herself befriending the rest of white society in Kenya, and the natives as well. And when her lover is murdered and the authorities are set on pinning the crime on a Masai man whom she considers to be a good friend, Delilah finds herself entangled in yet another scandal.

Deanna Raybourn ventures away from her beloved mysteries and into a new world with “A Spear of Summer Grass.” Delilah is the kind of woman most of us wish we could be: smart, capable, and firmly in control of her own destiny, not to mention gorgeous. She may not always be the most likeable of characters, but you'll still find yourself rooting for her as she thwarts the “bad” guys and comes to terms with herself and her own spotty past. Fall in love with this novel!

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper
Love Saves the Day

Holly Scudero, November 26, 2013

Prudence, a sassy brown tabby who isn't afraid to let her opinions be heard, has spent most of her life living with her Most Important Person, Sarah. Then one day Sarah doesn't come home, and Prudence finds herself moving in with Laura, Sarah's daughter. Life has changed forever, and all Prudence knows is that Laura doesn't know anything about how to take care of a cat properly; while she waits for Sarah to return and take her home, Laura struggles with memories and old wounds in her relationship with her mother, as well as new hurts with her new husband. But Prudence will help Laura come to terms with her past, one way or another.

Gwen Cooper's adorable and perhaps surprisingly memorable novel “Love Saves the Day” is much more than it seems on the surface, much like Prudence herself. What seems like it might be nothing more than a feel-good read actually has a lot of depth, believable characters, an intriguing and plausible story, and a multidimensional setting; this book will remain with you long after you finish the last page.

This review originally written for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review.
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