mountain Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her impoverished parents.  They work hard and have barely enough to eat.  They say that the area they live in has been cursed with bad luck.  Minli having listened to tales told by her father, decides she will go out to where the Mountain meets the Moon and attempt to change her luck.

A delightful magical realism or fairy tale type of story.

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Outsider

From #1 New York Times bestseller Stephen King, whose brand has never been stronger, comes one of his most propulsive and unsettling stories ever.

An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.

King constructs a propulsive plot, and a race against time to uncover the identity of a terrifying and diabolical killer who has left victims—and “perpetrators”—across the country, and who is on his way to his next horrific act.

King’s psychological suspense is at its most riveting in this extraordinarily dramatic and eerie story. He is devastatingly vivid on the experience of being falsely blamed—the effect on the accused, the spouse, the children; the suspicion of friends, even the most loyal; the impossibility of ever being innocent again (if you are lucky enough to live). He is also masterful at showing us that supernatural monsters are startlingly like human beings who do monstrous things.  goodreads.com

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Hooked

How do successful companies create products people can’t put down?

Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?
Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

Hooked is based on Eyal’s years of research, consulting, and practical experience. He wrote the book he wished had been available to him as a start-up founder—not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products. Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

Eyal provides readers with:

• Practical insights to create user habits that stick.
• Actionable steps for building products people love.

• Fascinating examples from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest to the Bible App, and many other habit-forming products.

goodreads.com

Clockwork Dynasty

Clockwork Dynasty

June Stefanov researched and searched for ancient relics her whole life. Her desire and interest began with an old clockwork metal amulet her grandfather gave her; he had discovered it next to his god-like savior on the battlefield during the war. It hums to her, holds a dangerous secret, and she feels it is a part of her reason for existing. After discovering a beautiful ancient automaton, her entire world colapses into chaos as she unearths some of the deepest secrets the world has to offer; there is an entire society, working like clockwork with futuristic technology, right in front of human-kind’s very noses, and they are at war.

Daniel H Wilson does it again with his vivid personalities! Each character, no matter how small, seemed well-rounded and personalized. This steampunk, clockwork, and ancient secrets kind of world is one I am particularly fond of. The end of the book came too fast, almost like the author was rushing to finish it. I knew I had only a few chapters left and I remember thinking “How in the world is he going to tie all of this up?” I am left with a desire for more because I became immensed in the plot and it just rushed right on by. This novel would honestly make for a lovely movie and at least deserves a sequel.

Low

Low: Book One

In the distant future Earth’s sun will start to expand creating radiation that will bake the surface of the planet. So humanity moves underwater to great domed cities. Hundreds of years in the future these cities are on their last legs. Air is becoming toxic and resources scarce. Low is the story of one family trying to survive below the surface. Stel and her husband Johl are training their children Marik, Della and Tajo for the future. Marik is becoming an engineer while Della and Tajo as the last Caines are being trained as Helmsmen. The Helm is a powerful suit that is tied to the DNA of the Caine family. Johl operates the last helm in the world. On their training trip pirates attack and kidnap Della and Tajo and kill Johl. They also take the helm leaving Stel devastated and alone.

Ten years later Stel is still mourning her family as Marik falls deeper and deeper into darkness. Then there is hope when Stel receives a notice that an ancient probe has returned to Earth hopefully with news of a habitable planet. Stel and Marik take off to find the probe and along the way rediscover Tajo and Della. Neither of them are the sweet girls they were. Tajo has been raised by the pirates. Della was sold to another dome and trained as a thought police, destroying anything that leads to hope. Not everyone survives the journey and almost all members of the family are in peril when we leave them.

I actually really enjoyed the premise of this story. I do wish there was more backstory however. Why only three domes? What happened to all the people on the surface that didn’t make it into the domes? How did the societies of the domes develop into what they did? Who were the pirates? I will also admit that this was not my favorite art. Some of it was beautiful but I also had a hard time with the details and the fact that many of the characters looked so similar. I could have used a bit more definition to the art. It is a fascinating speculation as to the future of humanity. How we devolve over the millennia and how we survive.

dear bridget

Dear Bridget

Bridget is a widowed mother going on 35 working at a hospital as a nurse. She was out on a lake and accidentily got a fish hook stuck into her rear end! Once at the hospital room and covered in her hospital gown, Dr. Hough walks in; sexy, british, blonde, and perfect. This completely embarassing moment in her life was, thankfully, brief and once Bridget got home she talked with her best friend about her soon to be new house-mate. It seems fate likes a good joke and her house-mate turned out to me Dr. Hough himself. Not only is she going to be embarassed for the rest of the time he lives with her but it turns out he works at the same Hospital as her, temporarily. This is definitly not something Bridget could have predicted, let alone her guilty growing feelings for him after losing her husband.

Nevermind the in-your-face book cover this story was great! There’s humor, vivid characters, real life hardships, and all of the passionate fun a romance novel brings. Toward the end, this novel even gives out some wonderful relationship advice regarding cheating. I thouroughly enjoyed this and would recommend it for any who enjoy a good romance story.

two alone

Two Alone

An airplane carrying passengers from a hunter’s lodge loses control during a storm and crash lands upon an island. There were a lot of casualties and only one lived. Rusty Carlson is a posh, rich, girl, from Beverly Hills. After gaining her wits and checking one of the passengers, she realizes that he’s alive too! She carried him, roughly, away from the crash site and forced him to regain consciousness. Cooper Landry is a down to earth man with wonderful survival skills but he hated women like Rusty with a passion. Both had no idea that surviving together would force them to undestand the lifestyles they hated and even grow fond of each other.

I had a good time with this book because it was just dramatic fun. The novel was published quite awhile ago and uses old gender traditions in a way that could be uncomfortable now. The relationship between the two characters is also very mentally abusive, but if you can handle that and realize that it’s just fantasy then I believe you would enjoy this story as well.

The Best Man

The Best Man

Archer Magill had a lovely life. A rebel for a sister, great parents, awesome grandparents and very special uncle. The book follows him and his friends chronologically through school and chronicles their growing pains as they head toward adolescence.
I LOVED this book! I read it because it came across my list as a banned book and I was curious. This book is about family and the undying love and loyalty of family. It was a coming of age tale of not only Archer but his friends. To me, there was nothing in this book that was objectional. As a matter of fact, it is a great book for inclusion and acceptance. In this world where there is still so much intolerance, I found this book a breath of fresh air and highly recommend it.
Vampire kisses

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Streiber

As a kindergarter, Raven was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up – she responded “A Vampire”.  Nobody took her seriously.  Now she’s a goth outcast in high-school, and when a new vampireish family moves into the old “haunted” mansion, Raven has her sights set on the new teen boy in town.  Is he a vampire?  Will he like her?  will she be heartbroken if he turns out to be a normal boy?

Sisters like us

Sisters like us

The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…

Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgeling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.

Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.

Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

–from Goodreads.com

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot

Long before Liane Moriarty’s best selling Big Little Lies was turned into a hit series on HBO, she wrote What Alice Forgot, one of my favorite books. I’ve read it three times now and I’ll probably read it again. It really is that good.

As the book opens, twenty-nine year old Alice Love is waking up after hitting her head at the gym. She can’t wrap her mind around the fact that she’s even at the gym; she hates the gym! She’s madly in love with her husband and is expecting their first child. Except, none of those things are true.

It’s 2008, not 1998, and Alice is about to turn forty, has three children and is in the middle of a nasty custody battle with her husband. The knock on the head has stolen ten years from Alice.

So how does one go about reconciling the free-spirited, easygoing, slightly overweight person you think you are with the ultra-fit, hyper-organized, bitter person you’ve evidently become? How, and why, has she turned into this person she doesn’t recognize? And who is this mysterious Gina and why does no one want to talk about her when Alice remembers her name?

Perhaps what is so tantalizing about What Alice Forgot is that in a way, Alice gets the do-over so many of us say we’d like to have. She gets to examine the last ten years of her life through the eyes of her younger, twenty-nine year old self and she’s not at all pleased with how older Alice seems to have veered away from the path younger Alice was traversing.

As Alice grapples with the reality of her life in 2008, the most difficult situation is the state of her once-happy marriage to the love of her life, Nick. The disdain with which he treats her is especially painful and try as she might, Alice can’t remember what happened to bring about such a change in the sweet, charming man she married.

Adding to Alice’s confusion is her relationship with her older sister, Elisabeth. In 1998 Alice and Elisabeth were extremely close. In 2008, they barely talk, a fact that’s hardly comprehensible to Alice. If she ever needed her older sister, it’s now as she tries to sort out a life she doesn’t recognize, including how to care for three children she can’t remember giving birth to.

Elisabeth’s painful struggle with infertility is a well-developed secondary story line, as is the developing relationship between Alices’ honorary grandmother,Frannie, and a new resident in her retirement community.

What Alice Forgot is an often hilarious, yet tender story that reminds us to question our priorities as we get older. You’ll root for the younger, more easygoing Alice to help the much more tightly wound, present-day Alice let go and enjoy life, the way she used to.

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Warriors: I Bring the Fire Part V by C Gockel

When Steve is critically injured as well as Amy’s dog Fenrir, Amy uses magical stem cells to “cure” first her dog, and then Steve.  At first there seem to be no adverse effects, only speedy recovery.  Then Fenrir’s paws and whole body start expanding, making him her look more like the wolf-monster she was named after.  Will Steve have weird side-effects?  We also get to meet Sigyn, and Nori and Valli.

I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but there is a lot of male gaze that I could do without. Still barring that, it is really a nifty series.

Lunch Witch Knee-Deep in Niceness

Lunch Witch: Knee-Deep in Niceness

Grunhilda the Witch has a weakness…a tiny soft spot on her black and crusty heart. She continues to hide the nice feelings she has when she gets a letter from former Salem Elementary student Madison. But she can’t keep up the ruse for long because her familiars are onto her…and so are her ancestors! The familiars search her hovel and find her collection of letters from Madison. Mr. Williams has a solution, but it involves making a meanness potion from the book that IS-NOT-TO-BE-USED-BY-ANYONE-OTHER-THAN WITCHES
(ESPECIALLY-NOT-WITCHES’-PETS). But anything that can go wrong does when he accidentally mixes up a positivity potion instead…and it starts to affect everyone in town. Birds are singing. Flowers are growing. The principal cancels school! Grunhilda hurries to mix up a potion to fix the town, her familiars, and her own black crusty heart before the positivity succeeds in making everything bright and cheerful.

–from Goodreads.com

The One Hundred Nights of Hero

The One Hundred Nights of Hero

Cherry and Hero are lovers and best friends. Unfortunately Cherry is married to a man who thinks so highly of her virtue he bets his friend that he cannot take said virtue even in 100 days. So the husband goes away and the friend comes to stay. The girls are afraid he may take Cherry by force so they come up with an ingenious scheme. Before Cherry succumbs to his advances, she must hear a story from Hero. Of course, Hero’s stories are so wonderful that she simply must keep telling them. Soon not only is the man enchanted by so are the guards and the entire city. Her stories are all about strong women: women who have overcome adversity, women who have been betrayed, women who have been victims. They are stories that bring strength and wisdom to the listener and lead to wondrous things. This story is a take on Arabian Nights with a feminine twist and it was lovely. I was as enchanted by the stories as the listeners in the book and I love how they all wove together in the end. It was a magical journey for all involved.

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Fates: I Bring the Fire Part IV: The Hunt for Loki is On by C Gockel

Amy Lewis is missing a few of her own memories, but was given all of Loki’s memories.  Bohdi Patel narrowly survived the blast that destroyed the World Seed, and finds all of his memory missing.  All he has of his childhood is a picture that was in his wallet at the time of the blast.  He thinks Amy is crazy to want to have anything to do with Loki or Asgard.  But when he learns that the Norns will answer any question for a price, he is willing to accompany Amy to Asgard.  Elsewhere both Steve and Odin are hunting for Loki’s whereabouts.

I find it quite fun to see the story from the “bad guys” perspective and receive plausible explanations for the character’s behaviors.

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Monsters: I Bring the Fire Part II by C Gockel

After Amy Lewis has her bank account plundered by Loki (who saved her life in the last book), she is working desperately as a receptionist at a government agency, to make enough money to go back to Vet school.  The agency is using her as a liaison to Loki.

The mysterious World Seed is trapped underneath the Chicago Board of Exchange, Loki wants to capture it and use its power to get revenge on Asgard, specifically on Odin.

An enjoyable read, that ends on a cliffhanger.

 

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The Woman in the Window

Anna Fox cannot leave her house. Surrounded by her pills, her booze, her ghosts, she lives a reclusive existence, her only social contacts through the internet. She lives her life vicariously through the lens of the camera she uses to spy on her neighbors. Then, one day, Anna sees something not meant for her to see and from that moment her life takes a downward spiral. Anna begins to question her own sanity. Reality and unreality become blurred. One by one secrets begin to emerge from dark closets.