Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe, 361 pages, read by Kira, on 06/19/2015
Dark Jenny is the look-alike/double for the Queen of LaBruin a kingdom like King Arthur’s, wherein the reigning King, King Marcus pulled a sword out of a stone and united an island kingdom, bringing it out of chaos and violence, into a land of peace and prosperity.
Eddie gets mixed up in the crossfire of an assassination attempt, where it looks like either the Queen Jenny or Eddie is guilty of poisoning one of the knights of the Double-Tarn. Turns out, it is King Marcus’s evil sister and their son who are behind it all.
Protagonist Eddie’s wry humor is a delight as always, and this story hangs together solidly.
Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot by by Betty Jean Craige ; preface by Irene Pepperberg., 136 pages, read by Kira, on 07/26/2015
I loved Irene Pepperberg’s book Alex & Me: So I had to pick up this title when it came across the donation bin. Unfortunately, this is a pale shadow of Pepperberg’s book. Conversations with Cosmo had a fair amount of ideas repeated, it should have been edited more heavily – which would have made a short book, into more of a pamphlet. It is the story of the conversations that Cosmo the parrot had with her owner, and some of the implications of the parrot’s abilities for animal intelligence. I did learn that you should get rid of all Teflon pans, if you own an African Grey parrot, and never have avocado in the house. I enjoyed the delightful interactions Cosmo had with her owner’s dogs, some quite humorous. Owning such a delightful creature is tempting, but when you take into account all the work cleaning up after an indoor parrot, it seems far too laborious for me.
Lover at Last by Ward, J.R., 591 pages, read by Leslie, on 07/24/2015
Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another.
While I enjoyed the 11th book in the series, I did not like the way the author ended it. It was as if she couldn’t think of anything better. Adult language and situations.
Lover Reborn by Ward, J.R., 572 pages, read by Leslie, on 07/19/2015
Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance, unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld—Tohr turns to the angel Lassiter to save his former mate. The only way to rescue her is for Tohr to love another. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vie for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past and a hot, passion-filled future. But can his heart let go and set all of them free?
This book brought us back to the story of Tohrment and answered the questions that were left when he disappeared. Adult language and situations.
Al Capone Does My Homework by Choldenko, Gennifer, 212 pages, read by Leslie, on 07/13/2015
Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn’t the most normal place to grow up, but it’s home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose’s dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it’s a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan’s apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose’s dad too? If Moose can’t figure out what Capone’s note means, it may be too late.
A great historical fiction read for boys, 3rd in the series of Al Capone books. This would make a good book to have the curiosity to explore the history of Alcatraz Island or book club selection.
Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton, 308 pages, read by Leslie, on 07/09/2015
Murdered and mummified more than ninety years ago, bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle once found and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice — the very item reluctant treasure seeker, Lizzy Tucker, and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.
It’s a swashbuckling adventure full of raiders, monkeys, minions, and mayhem. Lizzy and Diesel are going to have to do everything they can to keep their heads above water and hope they are living a charmed life.
I love this series as much as I do the Stephanie Plum books, I laugh through the whole book. Light-hearted with just the right touch of mystery and suspense.
Lover Unleashed by Ward, J.R., 489 pages, read by Leslie, on 07/07/2015
Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.
When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can—and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night—like vampires—he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.
As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide… just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.
While I do enjoy getting lost in this series, I’m beginning to wonder if in any of the books, they will add more humans to their world, something they hadn’t done in all their early history. Adult language and situations.
Lover Mine by Ward, J.R., 512 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/30/2015
John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.
Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.
I find I enjoy seeing what new names the author comes up with for her characters. This book explores John Matthew, a former Brother reincarnated, but no one knows the real connection. Adult language and situations.
Lover Avenged by Ward, J.R., 527 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/24/2015
Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious night club that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King and leader of the Brotherhood.
Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood—even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him—and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.
Rehvenge is not your average vampire, he is part Sympath and if his secret were to get out, he would be banished. Another twist in the series, this keeps the stories from being just about the vampire society and finding a mate after centuries alone. Adult language and situations.
Lover Enshrined by Ward, J.R., 534 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/19/2015
Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.
As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love.
Another Brother introduced in this book of the series and we learn more of their history. Adult language and situations, not for children.
Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather Watching by Ron Miller, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 07/27/2015
Interesting book on weather and storm chasing. It gives good information on how to be a storm chaser, what storm chasers do and what education you need. It also does a great job explaining the difference between climate and weather and what each are. There are a couple experiments listed in the text of the book and the back matter contains instructions for completing your own weather station including a rain gauge, wind gauge, wind vane, barometer and hygrometer. Lots of pictures and good first hand accounts from storm chasers. However, there is an illustration that doesn’t match the text and a word is missing from the middle of a sentence. Bad editing!
Terminal by Reichs, Kathy and Brendan, 380 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/12/2015
The Virals are back—but they’re not the only pack in town anymore. Terminal finds Tory Brennan—grandniece of the famous forensic anthropologist (star of the hit show Bones)—and the rest of the Morris Island gang tracking a pack of rogue Virals who call themselves the Trinity. The new pack was infected by a strain of supervirus created by Tory’s nemesis and sometimes-crush, Chance Clayborne, who accidentally infected himself, too.
These red-eyed Virals have openly challenged Tory’s pack for domination of Charleston, bringing on the attention of a shadowy government organization intent on learning the secret to their powers. Surviving it all is going to test the limits of the gang’s abilities.
The fifth and final story of the Virals series, this last adventure takes us to the end of the Virals, or does it? Good read for both girls and boys who enjoy mysteries and adventure all rolled into one.
Exposure by Reichs, Kathy and Brendan, 418 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/09/2015
When twin classmates are abducted from Bolton Prep, Tory and the Virals decide there’s no one better equipped than them to investigate. But the gang has other problems to face. Their powers are growing wilder, and becoming harder to control. Chance Claybourne is investigating the disastrous medical experiment that twisted their DNA. The bonds that unite them are weakening, threatening the future of the pack itself. The Virals must decipher the clues and track down a ruthless criminal before he strikes again, all while protecting their secret from prying eyes. And everyone seems to be watching
The fourth book in the Virals series, this will keep you on the edge of your seat. Great read for both boys and girls who enjoy a good adventure book.
The Great Trouble: a Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Hopkinson, Deborah, 256 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/06/2015
Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a “mudlark,” he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. He’s being hunted by Fisheye Bill Tyler, and a nastier man never walked the streets of London. And he’s got a secret that costs him four precious shillings a week to keep safe. But even for Eel, things aren’t so bad until that fateful August day in 1854—the day the deadly cholera (“blue death”) comes to Broad Street.
A good historical fiction, sure to be a hit with boys. You find yourself racing through the book to see how things turn out for Eel and cheer him on, even though we know how it turned out in reality.
Lover Unbound by Ward, J.R., 502 pages, read by Leslie, on 06/03/2015
Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father’s war camp he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time—until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.
Sometimes as you read these books, you cheer the Brotherhood on and feel defeated when the author takes a turn you don’t want the characters to endure. Adult language and situations.
Lover Revealed by Ward, J.R., 455 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/30/2015
Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world—to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers…
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him.
Another in the series of good, mindless reads. Adult language and situations, not for children.
Will in Scarlet by Cody, Matthew, 272 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/20/2015
Will Shackley is the son of a lord, and though just thirteen, he’s led a charmed, protected life and is the heir to Shackley House, while his father is away on the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart.
But with King Richard’s absence, the winds of treason are blowing across England, and soon Shackley House becomes caught up in a dangerous power struggle that drives Will out of the only home he’s ever known. Alone, he flees into the dangerous Sherwood Forest, where he joins an elusive gang of bandits readers will immediately recognize.
How Will helps a drunkard named Rob become one of the most feared and revered criminals in history is a swashbuckling ride perfect for anyone who loves heroes, villains, and adventure.
If you have any boys who enjoy adventure books, maybe with a historical twist, this is the book for them. You find yourself cheering Will on and hoping things go the way you want them to.
Lover Awakened by Ward, J.R., 434 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/16/2015
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her.
3rd in the series, we are introduced to another Brother, Zsadist, seemingly the baddest of the group, until he falls in love. Adult recommended due to language and adult situations. A good read if you haven’t tired of vampire stories yet.
The Water Castle by Blakemore, Megan Frazer, 344 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/13/2015
Ephraim Appledore-Smith is an ordinary boy, and up until his father’s stroke he lived an ordinary life. But all that changes when his family moves to the Water Castle—their ancestral home in the small town of Crystal Springs. Mallory Green’s family has always been the caretakers of the Water Castle—and the guardians of the legendary Fountain of Youth, hidden on the estate grounds. Will Wylie’s family has been at war with the Applegates for generations, all because of the Water Castle’s powerful secrets. When Ephraim learns of the Fountain, he’s sure finding it can cure his dad. With Mallory and Will’s help, he embarks on a quest that will blur the lines of magic and science, creativity and discovery, leaving readers left to wonder: Do you believe in the unbelievable?
Ephraim does not want to move to the Water Castle, but as with all children, they go wherever their families go. He wants to help his father and when he learns of a chance to do it, he follows the story of the Fountain of Youth to it’s conclusion. A good story for young readers both boys and girls.
Lover Eternal by Ward, J.R., 441 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/09/2015
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.
Second in the series, the focus is on another Brother with this one. A good read if you like adult situations and something that in no way resembles reality.