27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery · Tags: ,

Big little lies by Liane Moriarty, 458 pages, read by Katy, on 03/27/2015

9780698138636_p0_v2_s260x420Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

From www.goodreads.com. 

27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin, Kevin Cornell (Illustrations), 112 pages, read by Angie, on 03/26/2015

This is a really cute beginning chapter book. It is the tale of a dog who is in charge of keeping the chickens in his yard safe. Of course, he has to keep them safe from themselves. The four chicks take up with a squirrel who convinces them there is a UFO in the yard out to kidnap the chicks. Turns out it is a barbeque and the dog has to save everything. Very cute and appropriate for beginning chapter book readers. A good recommendation for fans of Mercy Watson.

27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

More of Monkey & Robot by Peter Catalanotto, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 03/26/2015

The second book in the Monkey and Robot series. This is a good transition book for young readers who are ready to move on from easy readers but not quite ready for chapter books. The four chapters in the book are all independent stories that can be read together or separate. Funny stories that are sure to tickle kids.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Missing Pieces of Me by Jean Van Leeuwen, 226 pages, read by Angie, on 03/25/2015

Weezie’s momma says she is a bad kid. Nothing she does ever seems to come out right whether it is making her momma tea or cooking dinner or picking flowers. Momma dotes on Ruth Ann and Jackson, but has nothing good to say to Weezie. Momma also doesn’t talk about Weezie’s daddy. She won’t even say his name or tell Weezie anything about him other than that he was a bad guy. Weezie wonders if finding her daddy would make any difference in her life. She has very little to go on: just a photo with a first name. She enlists the help of her friends Calvin and Louella to help her figure it out.

Weezie’s story seems to be one of heartbreak and loss, but on closer inspection it is one of hope and determination. Weezie is beaten down at every turn, by her momma and by some of her classmates. She doesn’t let that drag her down though. She is positive in spite of everything. She is an artist with true talent and is recognized by her teacher if not by her momma. She is a good friend to Luella and Calvin even when her momma tries to stop her from being their friend. She is a good big sister to Ruth Ann and Jackson even though her momma never recognizes her efforts. And she is a good daughter despite her momma’s indifference. I appreciate the fact that while the ending is hopefully it is not necessarily a happy ending. It is realistic in that momma has not made a big change in her attitude and Weezie’s homelife is still very much the same as it was. Sure she knows who her daddy is, but that has not really changed her circumstances. The Missing Pieces of Me is a wonderful story that I highly recommend.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Lulu's Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst, Kevin Cornell (Illustrator), 185 pages, read by Angie, on 03/25/2015

Lulu’s parents are going on vacation without Lulu. She is NOT happy about it and is even more unhappy when she learns they are leaving her with a babysitter. She tries everything she can think of to get rid of Sonia Sofia Solinsky, including introducing cats to the highly allergic babysitter, sneaking out the window and blockading herself in her room. It doesn’t matter what she does, Solinsky is always one step ahead of her. After the blockade is destroyed Solinsky lets it slip that she is actually a spy. Of course, Lulu wants to be a spy as well and begs Solinsky to train her. Solinsky demands obedience and once Lulu is on board she has a much better time with her babysitter. The only problem is that her parents missed her so much they are determined to never leave her again. That will not do! Lulu then has to convince them to keep taking vacations so she can have Sonia Sofia Solinsky keep training her. I really enjoyed Lulu’s third outing. This series is very tongue-in-cheek funny. I really enjoy the interjections of the author, which didn’t seem quite as plentiful as they were in other books. However, I liked this story and how Solinsky tames Lulu. I think Lulu fans will enjoy this one as much as the others.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

Where there's smoke by Elizabeth Lee, 230 pages, read by Melody, on 03/25/2015

There is something to be said for letting go. Ryland Roberts knows that better than anyone. He’d let go of his ambitions, of his family and—most of all—of her. He’d perfected the art of putting his past behind him and accepted the fact that the town he wanted to leave in his rearview was the place where he was going to live out his days. But sometimes the past doesn’t just go away. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you.

Piper Jameson convinced herself that she left for all the right reasons. She’d saved people by leaving—made sure that they weren’t tainted by her rebellious ways. When her little sister asks her to come home and say goodbye to their ailing mother, she’s forced to see that things aren’t always as they seem. The people who she’d left behind might not have been saved at all.

In the amount of time it takes a bullet to travel from point A to point B, Piper and Ryland will have to put their feelings for each other aside and make a choice. Forced on the run with Piper’s sister, they begin to understand that the future they thought was gone was never really lost.

climateI liked how this book is organized in presenting it’s story.  Global warming and climate change not the same thing and the author takes the doubters questions and shows how they are wrong about their incomplete beliefs.

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tomb Raider Tankobon: Volume 3 by Dan Jurgens, 220 pages, read by Brian, on 03/20/2015

tomb3Adventurer Lara Croft visits exotic locales in search of the world’s greatest treasure. From the archives of Top Cow Productions, one of the leading publishers of comic books in North America, Bandai Entertainment is proud to release a new series of graphic novels featuring the best of Lara Croft’s adventures!

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tomb Raider Tankobon: Volume 2 by San Jurgensans, 220 pages, read by Brian, on 03/20/2015

tomb2Adventurer Lara Croft visits exotic locales in search of the world’s greatest treasures. From the archives of Top Cow Productions, one of the leading publishers of comic books in North America, Bandai Entertainment is proud to release a new series of graphic novels featuring the best of Lara Croft’s adventures!

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tomb Raider: Tankobon: Volume 1 by Dan Jurgens, 236 pages, read by Brian, on 03/19/2015

tombAdventurer Lara Croft visits exotic locales in search of the world’s greatest treasures. This title is a part of a series of graphic novels featuring the best of Lara Croft’s adventures.

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, 310 pages, read by Brian, on 03/19/2015

graveFirst Grave on the Right is about Death.  I mean the person who sees dead people and takes them to there rightful place after they die.  Charley Davidson, is such Death, a grim reaper if you will, who moonlights as a private investigator. She is kind of lazy, smart-ass, and a heart of gold as she solves the murders of the recently deceased.

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison, 439 pages, read by Brian, on 03/18/2015

paleKim Harrison is a wonderful writer, her books are interesting, funny and suspenseful, Pale Demon is no different.  Rachel Morgan is condemned by the witches society for using black magic.  She has three days to travel across country to prove her innocence and not be sent to the demons.  Travelling with a vampire, elf, pixie and other assorted creatures trying to kill her, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.  Should it?

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Business, NonFiction, Self Help

Happy at Work: 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful by Jim Donovan, 176 pages, read by Brian, on 03/24/2015

18342410Happy @ Work is a good but not great book.  Jim gives the reader good ways to be more productive, work better with others and of course, to be happy at work.  The suggestions are good but obvious, yes, I like to be reminded of what I strayed away from but I was looking for to get over the next hurdle.

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen, 262 pages, read by Jessica, on 03/24/2015

91sXt2gX6UL._SL1500_Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is FORBIDDEN. ***

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiance and the location–the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil–are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch–where her fiance awaits her–defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilization, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s–the pilot–only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiance, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan–the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

25. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, Informational Book, NonFiction

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 03/24/2015

Typhoid seems like one of those diseases people used to have back in the old days when there wasn’t any antibiotics or good sanitation. It sort of is, but it still exists today. Fatal Fever is the story of typhoid in the early 1900s in New York. New York was not like it is today. There were outhouses and cesspits and raw sewage in the streets. It was very likely you would come in contact with typhoid at some point in your life. This book chronicles the story of Mary Mallon, otherwise known as Typhoid Mary. It is also the story of George Soper and how he tracked down Mary. Mary was a cook for prominent New York families. Soper’s investigation led him from family to family and from typhoid case to typhoid case. Mary was something unknown at that time: a carrier of typhoid who was not herself sick. She spread the disease through the food she handled and served to her employers. Soper and his associates finally caught up with Mary and had her tested. She was then confined to North Brother Island. Mary was never charged with anything or put on trial. She was confined by the Department of Health because she was considered a health risk. She never believed that she infected people with typhoid or that she was a carrier. She fought against her confinement for years. After she was finally let go, you would think she learned her lesson but you would be wrong. She again infected a family with typhoid and was again sent to North Brother Island where she spent the rest of her life.

Gail Jarrow is one of those authors that I am starting to look for. I really enjoyed her book Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat and equally enjoyed this one. This book reads like a detective story with Soper as the detective and Mary as the villain. There are lots of details about typhoid and sanitation in the 1900s, but you kind of forget how educational the books is. You are just reading it for the pure enjoyment and fascination of it.

25. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paula, Thriller/Suspense

The Girl On The Train by Hawkins, Paula, 323 pages, read by Paula, on 03/24/2015

hw7.plRachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

I loved this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  Rachel is such a believable character.  She is an alcoholic.  And on the night Megan goes missing she’s drunk.  She knows she’s seen something.  But she can’t remember what.  Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing right up until the end.

 

24. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Autobiographies, Humor, NonFiction

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum, Antony Hare (Illustrator), 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/23/2015

Neil Patrick Harris is at this point unstoppable. His newest venture is his Choose Your Own Autobiography and it is HILARIOUS! It is set up just like the old choose your own adventure books from my childhood and it works. It also works really well just as a book to read straight through (which is what I did). Neil chronicles his life from childhood to present day in an honest, insightful and funny way. He pulls no punches about himself or those around him. I was especially touched by his personal journey to discover his sexual identity. He is honest about how he dated girls but wasn’t that into it, about his first gay experiences and about finding love with his husband David. I laughed out loud when he was talking about his escapades with LA nightlife in his youth and how outrageous it is to be friends with Elton John. The Choose Your Own Autobiography set up allows you to make terrible choices with Neil’s life which ended up with him as a sandwich maker at Schlotzky’s Deli or in a horrible death scene. I also really enjoyed the letters from his friends like Sarah Silverman, Nathan Fillion, Penn Jillette, Seth MacFarlane and many others. They were sometimes touching, sometimes funny, often bizarre, but always perfect. I started my journey with NPH during his Doogie Howser days when he was one of my favorite teen heartthrobs. I rediscovered him as Dr. Horrible and have loved him ever since. He is very talented and funny, but above all seems to be a genuine good guy who deserves all the accolades he gets. His autobiography is definitely worth the read for fans and nonfans, plus it has magic tricks!

23. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, 333 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/04/2015

station eleven  This novel set in the future explores what life would be like for the survivors of a world-wide pandemic. Part of the story takes place in the characters past when the illness was just starting, part takes place in their current time and other sections take place in the characters memories of their own past. This may sound confusing but the writing and the way the chapters are organized makes the story flow smoothly. The survivors past lives interconnect in an interesting way and the inclusion of a story within the story set in a graphic novel is unique as well. The novel explores the different ways people react to the same circumstances and how their decisions affect all those around them.

23. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Humor, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

Off the Leash: The Secret Life of Dogs by Rupert Fawcett , 158 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/10/2015

off the leash  Collection of cartoons originally published on Facebook. Rupert Fawcett’s cartoons have developed into a daily online comic.This collection features the secret thoughts and conversations of dogs of every size, shape and breed. This collection will appeal to pet owners and those who just wish they owned a pet.

23. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Humor, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Texts from Dog by October Jones, 100 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/08/2015

texts from dog  Author October Jones shares the text between him and his pet bulldog. His endearing Dog and his alter-ego Batdog were born. Texts from Dog features his attempts to keep the neighborhood safe from the enemy otherwise known as the Postman. Stories about his arch-enemy Cat-Cat are also included. Some stories are laugh out loud funny. However, keep in mind that these texts are between two young adult males (one human, one dog) about whatever it is they are thinking. Not child friendly humor.