Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr.


Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr, 381 pages, read by Kira, on 09/30/2016

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Fabulous book!

The fairy queen of Rage and Blood has united the Seelie and Unseelie fairy courts.  She has also planted sleeper cells in the human world, changelings raised in powerful human homes who will wipe out humanity, because humanity is ruining the earth (environmentally).  The story is told mostly from Lilly White Abernathy daughter of a crime-lord, initially unaware of her role as a sleeper.  We get snippets from the heir to the Queen of Rage and Blood, her daughter named Aely.

I can’t wait for the next in the series!

We Stand On Guard


We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (artist), 160 pages, read by Angie, on 09/29/2016

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The White House is bombed and the United States invades Canada. Twelve years later the occupation seems to be going well, for the Americans that is. They are set on suppressing their neighbors to the north and taking as much of their natural resources as possible. Amber was just a child when her parents were killed in the bombing of Ottawa. Now she has joined the resistance group Two-Four. They are a ragtag bunch of fighters trying to take on the more powerful US.

There is a lot more going on in this short series than meets the eye. Not only is this a speculative fiction piece about a future US/Canada war, it is a comment on the US military establishment, on Canada/US relations, on the culture of Canada and so much more. The artwork is stunning and the premise is a bit scary, especially in our current political climate. Superb work from Vaughan as always.

Sting


Sting by Sandra Brown, 408 pages, read by Melody, on 09/27/2016

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When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.

With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages.

–from Goodreads.com.

Under the Ashes


Under the Ashes by Cindy Rankin, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 09/28/2016

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It all began with the skunks. Littlebeth wanted to chase the skunks out of her grandma’s yard and instead chased them right into the middle of the quilting bee. She also wanted to help out her teacher by showing the class where the famous outlaw Jesse James once stayed. So she didn’t have permission to take the class or the wagon on a field trip. The final straw was the rattlesnake. Littlebeth should have been a hero for saving her baby brother from a rattlesnake. Instead she gets sent to her aunt Sally in San Francisco to attend finishing school.

Littlebeth, now Beth, isn’t thrilled with being sent to San Francisco, but she does like Aunt Sally’s neighbor Mr. Steinberg, who is sweet on Sally. Her timing is terrible however as she arrives just days before the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Aunt Sally and Mr. Steinberg are both injured and sent to a hospital. Beth gets separated from them, but meets Mr. Caruso, a famous opera singer, who helps her.

I think the most powerful scenes were the ones of the actual earthquake. You could almost feel the building collapse under you as the earth trembled. I thought Rankin did a fairly good job of describing the horror of the earthquake and subsequent fires without making it too horrible for young readers. Beth was very relatable in her determination first to go home and then to survive and find her aunt.

I received this book from Netgalley.

F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems


F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems by Michael & Sarah Bennett, 384 pages, read by Brian, on 09/09/2016

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The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control—the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems.

Here is the cut-to-the-chase therapy session you’ve been looking for!

Need to stop screwing up? Want to become a more positive person?
Do you work with an ass? Think you can rescue an addicted person?
Looking for closure after abuse? Have you realized that your parent is an asshole?
Feel compelled to clear your name? Hope to salvage a lost love?
Want to get a lover to commit? Plagued by a bully?
Afraid of ruining your kid? Ready to vent your anger?

In this brilliantly sensible and funny book, a Harvard-educated shrink and his comedy-writing daughter reveal that the real f-words in life are “feelings” and “fairness.” While most self-help books are about your feelings and fulfilling your wildest dreams, F*ck Feelings will show you how to find a new kind of freedom by getting your head out of your ass and yourself onto the right path toward realistic goals and feasible results. F*ck Feelings is the last self-help book you will ever need!

Goodreads.com

 

Electronic Resource Management Systems: A Workflow Approach


Electronic Resource Management Systems: A Workflow Approach by ALA, 50 pages, read by Brian, on 09/02/2016

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To get to the bottom of a successful approach to Electronic Resource Management (ERM), Anderson interviewed staff at 11 institutions about their ERM implementations. Among her conclusions, presented in this issue of Library Technology Reports, is that grasping the intricacies of your workflow analyzing each step to reveal the gaps and problems at the beginning is crucial to selecting and implementing an ERM. Whether the system will be used to fill a gap, aggregate critical data, or replace a tedious manual process, the best solution for your library depends on factors such as your current software setup, staffing levels, and local support from systems staff. Providing guidance to library technology decision-makers, this report offers coverage of such important topics as: The five major elements of managing electronic resources: knowledge bases, acquisitions, administration and contracts, licensing, and reporting; Vendor systems from EBSCO, Ex Libris, and Innovative Interfaces, as well as three open source (OS) solutions; How ERMs function as a component of the library service platforms of OCLC Worldshare, Ex Libris Alma, Serial Solutions Intota, Kuali OLE, and Innovative Interfaces Sierra”

–goodreads.com

Birds of Prey vol 1


Birds of Prey Vol. 1 by Chuck Dixon, 208 pages, read by Brian, on 09/08/2016

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The first collection of BIRDS OF PREY is back in print , just in time for the new TV series to debut on the WB network!
Here we are presented with the first adventure where Oracle (Barbara Gordon – the original Batgirl) seeks out Black Canary as her partner in globetrotting adventures.

Collects Black Canary/Oracle: Manhunt 4-part Mini Series and Birds of Prey: Revolution, a story from Showcase ’96 #3

goodreads.com

Records and Information Management


Records and Information Management by Patricia Franks, 424 pages, read by Brian, on 09/28/2016

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Benefiting LIS students and professionals alike, Franks presents complete coverage of the records and information lifecycle model. Encompassing paper, electronic (databases, office suites, email), and new media records (blogs, wikis), as well as records residing in “the cloud” (software as a service), the text addresses a full range of topics, including

The origins and development of records and information
The discipline of information governance
Creation/capture, classification, and file plan development
Retention strategies
Access, storage, and retrieval
Electronic records and electronic records management systems
Emerging technologies such as web records, social media, and mobile devices
Vital records, disaster preparedness and recovery, and business continuity
Monitoring, auditing, and risk management
Inactive records management, archives, and long-term preservation
Education and training
Developing a strategic records management plan goodreads.com

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness


Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley (Author), Jillian Tamaki (Illustrations), 256 pages, read by Angie, on 09/28/2016

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Gertie is determined to make 5th grade the best grade ever. She has a multi-phase plan to accomplish this. The first phase is to make her summer story the best in the class. So she resuscitates a frog with a turkey baster. That story would have surely been the best if Mary Sue hadn’t joined the class. Not only is Mary Sue new, but her father is a movie director and she knows famous actors. The class gets stars in their eyes and becomes enamored with Mary Sue. On career day, Gertie plans on talking about her dad’s exciting job on an oil rig, but Mary’s Sue’s mom is an environmental lobbyist and talks to the class about the evils of the oil industry. Well Gertie can’t take that and she and Mary Sue become enemies. The whole class, even Gertie’s best friend, turn against her. Gertie’s only hope now is the school play. She must get the lead and show not just Mary Sue and the rest of the class, but also her absent mom that she is the best 5th grader ever.

I thought it was great that Gertie didn’t live in a typical family. She lives with her Aunt Rae and her father (when he is home from the oil rig). Her mother abandoned her as an infant and even though Rachel lives in the same town, she never has anything to do with Gertie. Every day Gertie’s bus takes her past Rachel’s house, which is for sale. Rachel is getting married and moving away and Gertie is determined to get her attention before she does. All her schemes are for Rachel. But Gertie has to learn what is truly important to her and what really makes her happy.

I really enjoyed Gertie’s story. I liked her determination to be the best. She actually made herself study and get good grades and really tried very hard. I thought her feud with Mary Sue was a pretty typical one for that age. I kind of wish we would have delved a bit more into why Mary Sue was so mean to Gertie, but we at least got a bit of a glimpse of her struggles as well at the end.

I received this book from Netgalley.

The Memory of Things


The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 09/27/2016

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It is the morning of September 11, 2001. Kyle is struggling to get out of Manhattan and home to Brooklyn. Along the way he sees a girl, huddled on a bridge, covered in ash, and wearing a pair of wings. He decides to bring her home with him. The girl has no memory of who she is. At home Kyle attempts to contact his dad, who is a NYPD detective, and his mom and sister, who are in California and scheduled to fly back to New York that day. He also has to take care of his Uncle Matt, who was in an accident that left him in a wheelchair. As Kyle struggles to hold things together, he also attempts to unravel the mystery of the girl.

This book captures the fear and uncertainty of 9/11 so well. Who can forget where they were or what they were doing on that tragic day. I liked that this book really focused on the experience of one person and didn’t take the reader on a crazy, horror-filled ride. Kyle’s experience was like so many. He got home, he tried to contact family, he stayed put and he survived. I think the realistic nature of this story makes it hit home even more. Because it is set in NY, it does make the tragedy more immediate to the characters. Kyle knows people who were in the towers. He knows cops who responded. His friends and family were directly affected. Kyle experiences a little of the horror first hand when he is leaving school and making his way home, but he is not at Ground Zero and doesn’t see that aspect of it. I think the distance this gives Kyle and the reader is a good grounding and makes the story that much more relatable.

While I think Kyle is the main character of the story, you can’t forget about Hannah, the girl in the wings. She is dealing with her own trauma, which we don’t discover until the end of the story. She either doesn’t remember or won’t remember who she is and where she comes from. Something has happened to her beyond what happened on 9/11. We only see her thoughts through little free verse poems interspersed throughout the text. These give a glimpse of what she is thinking and feeling. They didn’t always work for me, but I did appreciate the look into her head.

There are a lot of books about 9/11 being published this year as it is the 15th anniversary. I find it really interesting that most of the readers these books are aimed at where not born when 9/11 happened. They only know about it from stories and the consequences of that day. Our way of life changed on 9/11 and young people today only know a post-9/11 life. They don’t know what it is like to not have terrorism in your world. I find that very sad. So I think it is important that these stories of 9/11 be brought to life for today’s readers. They need to know just how tragic and powerful that day was for our country and the world. This story gives an excellent view of two teens on that fateful day.

I received this book from Netgalley.

Under a Painted Sky


Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, 384 pages, read by Angie, on 09/21/2016

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Samantha is a young Chinese girl living in St. Joseph, Missouri. Her father has a general store, but Samantha dreams of moving back to New York and opening a conservatory where she can teach music. When her father tragically dies in a fire, Samantha finds herself alone and at the mercy of their landlord who wants to make her a prostitute, after he tries her out of course. In the struggle he is killed and Samantha is now wanted for murder. She teams up with runaway slave Annemarie and together they head off on the Oregon Trail. First they disguise themselves as boys of course. The law is looking for two girls, so they cut off their hair and dress in trousers. Sammy and Andy join up with three cowboys heading to California and the boys help the girls blend in. The journey is fraught with danger and adventure and just a touch of romance (even though the boys don’t know they are girls).

The Old West always seems to have a romantic appeal even though the actual time period was anything but romantic. What could be more romantic than cowboys and sweeping vistas? I liked the strong, female heroines of Sammy and Andy. Their friendship that blossomed during their adventure was really the heart of this story. They are both outsiders looking for home and find it in each other really. I knew from the beginning that the girls were probably going to match up with the boys at some point in the story. It wasn’t my favorite aspect of the story but I didn’t hate it. Poor Cay of course ended up being the fifth wheel, but what can you expect when you have two girls and three boys! The ending might have been just a bit too rushed for me, but overall I really liked this story.

Dreamers Often Lie


Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West, 353 pages, read by Donna, on 09/26/2016

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I chose this book because of the Shakespearean aspect, but I continued to read because of the personal and family angst Jaye is encountering. I enjoyed being in the background of my high school/college plays and they are definitely sites for drama both on and off the stage. Poor Jaye has a hard time keeping reality and fantasy straight. Add some first love conflict to the scenario and her life is surely a perfect example of teenage life. However, trying to figure out what Hamlet, Ophelia, Shakespeare, and others are trying to tell her is enough to drive her crazy. What is real? What is a dream? Why must the story always end the same way? In the end, fate is the strongest character in Jaye’s story. If you like stories like the Black Swan, this book will keep you reading.

Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?

Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, her doctors. She’s fine, she says. She’s fine! If anyone knew the truth — that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters have followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls — it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he’s 100 percent real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself. Troubled by this magnetic boy, a long-lost friend turned recent love interest, and the darkest parts of her family’s past, Jaye’s life tangles with Shakespeare’s most famous plays until she can’t tell where the truth ends and pretending begins. Soon, secret meetings and dizzying first kisses give way to more dangerous things. how much is real, how much is in Jaye’s head, and how much does it matter as she flies toward a fate over which she seems to have no control?

Descriptive content provided by Syndetics, a Bowker service.

Danger Girl: Trinity


Danger Girl: Trinity by Andy Hartnell, 104 pages, read by Brian, on 09/04/2016

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It’s three times the ACTION, three times the THRILLS, and three times the DANGER!!! Abbey, Sydney, and Sonya embark on three different, knuckle-clenching adventures, each an epic tale of intrigue and derring-do, and each drawn by a different fantastic artist — it’s a triple-play of danger that will climax with the biggest surprise of the year!

goodreads.com

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs, Cassandra Jean, 272 pages, read by Brian, on 09/26/2016

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When Jacob Portman was a boy, his grandfather regaled him with stories of his fantastic life at Miss Peregrine’s home during the Second World War, even sharing photos of the remarkable children with whom he resided. As Jacob grew up, though, he decided that these photos were obvious fakes, simple forgeries designed to stir his youthful imagination. Or were they…?

Following his grandfather’s death – a scene Jacob literally couldn’t believe with his own eyes – the sixteen-year-old boy embarks on a mission to disentangle fact from fiction in his grandfather’s tall tales. But even his grandfather’s elaborate yarns couldn’t prepare Jacob for the eccentricities he will discover at Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  goodreads.com

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, 352 pages, read by Brian, on 09/15/2016

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A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.  goodreads.com

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant


Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast, 228 pages, read by LisaC, on 09/01/2016

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As many of  us enter our middle age we will inevitably have to deal some aspect of aging parents. Whether it is finding care for them, caring for them yourself on a day to day basis or helping them with tasks they used to find easy but are now a struggle. It is the ugly part of growing up that is not talked about. That lack of conversation makes the dilemma of what to do even more daunting. Can you talk to your parents about what is to come, not likely. Each family holds onto their fears and internalizes them until they come roaring forth in usually a most inappropriate manner, generally as anger or frustration, as the role of parent and child shifts and now the child is caring for the parent in a shift of dynamic that is unbidden, usually unplanned and most probably unwanted by either party involved.

Roz Chast’s book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant” tackles this difficult subject with humor, sincerity, sympathy and most importantly cartoons. Chast is a cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine and much of this memoir is told via her unforgettable  cartoons. It is a mix of prose, drawings and photographs that I felt brought  variety to the pages and told a little more of the story. Some of the photos were of the strange items  her parents had kept in their home that she then had to clean out all the while wondering what had made them keep it . There were family photos and then of course, her cartoons. Her experiences with her aging parents are so relatable for those of us going through it that it feels almost like a type of therapy, as you read it,  to know you are not alone. From hilarious antidotes to poignant and often difficult memories of her childhood and  to the inevitable sadness as she realizes this is her parents “long good-bye”. She details the difficult times of dealing with her parents as illness and dementia set in and confronts her role head on divulging her weaknesses, her vunerability and her strengths in coping with her aging parents.

While parts of this book were difficult, it was a therapeutic read and it helps to know that in caring for our aging parents there may be no right or wrong, it just is what it is and we do our best to cope but mostly it is just important to be there for them and let them know how very much they are loved and treasured.

Painted Paper Art Workshop: Easy and Colorful Collage Paintings


Painted Paper Art Workshop: Easy and Colorful Collage Paintings by Elizabeth Nelson , 128 pages, read by Maryjo, on 09/20/2016

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This is where painting meets collage! You can create beautiful art with amazing depth and texture, using easy collage techniques and paper you paint yourself. Popular workshop instructor Elizabeth St. Hilaire makes it fun and simple no matter what your skill level! Start with materials you probably already have–fluid acrylics, stencils, a few household items and paper–and hand-paint your personalized paper palette using basic techniques anyone can do. Then move through each step of composing your own work of art. You’ll find beautiful, meaningful examples of the how and why on every page. You’ll learn how to: develop your composition, how to work with simple shapes, important lessons on value and much more.More than 30 techniques for painting your own decorative papersStep-by-step instructions for creating your own painted paper collage from underpainting and directional ripping and tearing to auditioning your papers and combining collage with mixed mediaA spectacular gallery of paper paintings to inspire and dazzle–still lifes, figures, animals and landscapes” Goodreads

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