Loki's Wolves by K. L. Armstrong, 358 pages, read by Mariah, on 08/24/2016
In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters–wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds– all bent on destroying the world.
The gods died a long time ago.
Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history–because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.
However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids–led by Matt–will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.
— From Goodreads
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie, 228 pages, read by Mariah, on 08/23/2016
|While re-reading the Miss Marple novels in order of publication, I have decided that this is my favorite, so far. It begins with a newspaper ad that announces a murder will take place at a certain time and address. The local neighbors show up to see what happens, assuming it is a prank or a party. Instead, an attempt is made on the life of the lady who lives at the published address. The supposed murderer, after failing to kill the hostess appears to take his own life. However, enough small inconsistencies exist to keep the case open. Christie, an already acknowledged master of mystery, spins an ending that was completely a surprise. Yet, when I go back to think over the story again, the ending fits with all the conversation and clues. Christie’s main detective, Miss Marple, is fond of explaining that one must look past whatever it is you are directed to look at.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, 337 pages, read by Noelle, on 08/26/2016
After falling in love with My Grandmother Asked me To Tell You She’s Sorry, I definitely wanted to check out more from the author Fredrik Backman. I can safely say I’m a pretty big fan of his, but My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry is still my favorite.
A Man Called Ove-
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship. -Summary from Publisher
Nurtureshock: New Thinking about Children by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman, 336 pages, read by Noelle, on 08/15/2016
Like it’s title suggests, this book can be a little…shocking. It challenges several common parenting instincts and was incredibly fascinating to me as a new parent. I am so glad I checked it out. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. In fact, I would even venture as far as MUST READ for all parents and educators.
Award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring–because key twists in the science of child development have been overlooked. The authors discuss the inverse power of praise, why insufficient sleep adversely affects kids’ capacity to learn, why white parents don’t talk about race, why kids lie, why evaluation methods for “giftedness” and accompanying programs don’t work, and why siblings really fight.
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, 369 pages, read by Noelle, on 08/04/2016
I know this had a lot of buzz, and I wanted to see if it was as good as everyone else seemed to think. I did enjoy it quite a bit. I also wanted to check this out before seeing the movie, which I’m sure is inevitably sub-par compared to the book. After the bastardization of books like The Time Traveler’s Wife, I think I may just skip the cinematic version.
“They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy–but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common–a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? “– Provided by publisher.
Boost your Child's Immune System : a Program and Recipes for Raising Strong, Healthy Kids by Lucy Burney, 272 pages, read by Noelle, on 07/03/2016
Making the most of superfoods and nutrients, this powerful guide gives parents the building blocks and a clear plan to raise kids who are fit and strong for life and capable of fighting off bugs and infections. Top nutrition specialist Lucy Burney walks parents through how the immune system works and then addresses in a straightforward, easy-to-read manner: What foods to eat-and avoid-at each stage of your child’s life, including an A-Z of superfoods for the immune system and the top 10 nutrients for building super-resistance and what foods contain them More than 160 recipes for super-healthy, easy-to-prepare meals-from what to eat during pregnancy to baby’s first purees to tasty snacks for teenagers What foods can be used to combat common childhood ailments naturally-frequent colds and ear infections; dry skin or eczema; asthma; poor sleep habits Tips on everything from how to get your child to drink more water, to how food preparation and cooking methods can enhance or detract from a food’s nutritional value What parents need to know about the use (and overuse) of antibiotics to fight childhood infections The latest research on how kids develop and can avoid food allergies and asthma Filled with accessible charts and easy-to-reference information, this down-to-earth, commonsense guide is a must for every parent who wants their children to be full of energy and bursting with good health.
-Provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, 263 pages, read by Noelle, on 07/23/2016
I was so excited to read Kate Dicamillo’s newest book! It took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but once I did, it was fantastic! Like many of her other books, I think this one will snag quite a few awards.
From the Publisher:
Hoping that if she wins a local beauty pageant her father will come home, Raymie practices twirling a baton and performing good deeds as she is drawn into an unlikely friendship with a drama queen and a saboteur.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry : a novel by Fredrik Backman, 372 pages, read by Noelle, on 07/14/2016
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry : a novel by Fredrik Backman ; translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch
Every now and again, you fall head over heels in love with a book. For me, My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She’s Sorry is just such a book.
Elsa is a peculiar and precocious sort of child who is obsessed with Wikipedia. Granny is a weird and wild sort of grandmother who wields a paintball gun . Without any friends among her peer group, Elsa’s grandmother is her everything: best friend, confidante and superhero extraordinaire. They share a secret language and an entire invented world. Elsa is whisked away nightly with Granny’s fairy tales to the Land of Almost Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where stories are the main form of currency and “normalcy” is absurd. When her grandmother passes away from cancer, Elsa’s world is in complete upheaval. In her absence, Granny leaves Elsa with a series of of secret missions to perform as a knight of Miamias who must protect her castle from an impending dragon attack. Most of the missions involve Elsa delivering apology letters to various tenants in their building, but the missions also bring to light the origins of many of Granny’s tales. As Elsa performs these missions, she meets a host of characters who aid her in defending the castle (their building). These flawed but redeemable characters also offer an in depth portrait of who her grandmother truly was.
Of all the books I have read this year, this is one is my favorite. Fredrik Backman’s storytelling style was imaginative, absorbing and delightfully uplifting. I loved how he wove Granny’s inventive tales into the character’s real world life. Although it’s written from a seven year old’s perspective, it is recommended for an adult audience. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry is Backman’s second novel, though the first I’ve read. I am eager to read more of his work, including A Man Called Ove which explores similar intergenerational themes and has also received high critical acclaim.
Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales by multiple authors, 144 pages, read by Angie, on 08/24/2016
This is an excellent collection of African folktales. The stories are a wonderful mix of myths, legends, tales and origin stories. I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook as it was wonderful. Each tale is read by a different celebrity and the stories are interspersed with music. I recognized about half of the voices as they were reading. I do wish the readers would have introduced themselves and told the origin of the story. Fabulous audio and highly recommended.
Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward, 284 pages, read by Jessica, on 08/25/2016
A STANDALONE NOVEL that does NOT need to be read in conjunction with any other book. From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a friends-to-lovers story with sexy new characters. After getting dumped, the last thing I needed was to move next door to someone who reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, Elec. Damien was a hotter version of my ex. The neighbor I’d dubbed “Angry Artist” also had two massive dogs that kept me up with their barking. He wanted nothing to do with me. Or so I thought until one night I heard laughter coming through an apparent hole in my bedroom wall. Damien had been listening to all of my phone sessions with my therapist. The sexy artist next door now knew all of my deepest secrets and insecurities. We got to talking. He set me straight with tips to get over my breakup. He became a good friend, but Damien made it clear that he couldn’t be anything more. Problem was, I was falling hard for him anyway. And as much as he pushed me away, I knew he felt the same…because his heartbeat didn’t lie. I thought my heart had been broken by Elec, but it was alive and beating harder than ever for Damien. I just hoped he wouldn’t shatter it for good.
Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw, 256 pages, read by Kayla, on 08/24/2016
With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a “you-only-live-once” perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease. (–Goodreads.com)
This book was amazing. I can’t believe that I didn’t read it sooner. It reads so quickly, and by the end I was inspired by how much Shane had gone through. Even after all the ups and downs, he still has the strength and determination to keep going, no matter what his illness sends his way. His family support is wonderful, and the stories he tells about growing up seem no different than that of a normal kid growing up in America. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander, 229 pages, read by Kim B, on 08/22/2016
Robert Alexander’s novel The Kitchen Boy takes place during the last weeks in the lives of the Russian royal family the Romanovs. The story is told in the first person in the form of tape recorded reminiscences of Mikhail Semyonov who was once the “kitchen boy”, Leonka, who followed the royal family into exile and imprisonment along with other royal staff members. Mikhail weaves a tale of desperation as the family tries to find a means of escape from their Red guards and then the hopelessness when they realize that escape is impossible.
Alexander’s fictitious rendition of the Romanovs’ last days is so well-written and researched that the reader can actually come to believe that this is truly what happened. However, the author begins very subtly to weave a twist into the plot so that the ending comes as an unexpected and shocking surprise.
A fascinating read. The novel will soon be produced into a feature film.
The Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot, 121 pages, read by Kim B, on 08/20/2016
T.S. Eliot’s epic poem The Waste Land was written in the aftermath of World War I. It describes the hopelessness and confusion felt in those post-war years of the early 1920s and the sense of lost purpose and fragmentation of society in the Western world. His poem portrays those who lived through those tumultuous years as seeking a promise of redemption.
This book also contains Eliot’s other famous poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” which was first brought public attention to Eliot as well as several of his other poems.
The Lincolns in the White House: Four Years that Shattered a Family by Jerrold M. Packard, 290 pages, read by Kim B, on 08/19/2016
Jerrold M. Packard’s book The Lincolns in the White House: Four Years That Shattered a Family gives the reader an inside look into the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln during the worst crisis endured by Americans up to that time, the Civil War, and how it personally affected them. Packard takes us back in time to the days when the city of Washington was emerging from the swamps upon which it was built, the filth and diseases that had to be endured not only by ordinary citizens but by those occupying the White House.
Abraham Lincoln was a man who took the job of Protector of the Union seriously. From the moment of his inauguration he faced the crisis of southern states leaving the union and he fought with every fiber of his being to keep the union together. Packard shows the reader how Lincoln’s personal fight took its toll on the man, body and soul.
Packard also gives us insight into the marriage of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, the toll the war took on their relationship and on Mary Lincoln’s mental health, as well as the parents relationship with their three sons, one of whom they lost during their tenure in Washington.
It culminates in the first presidential assassination in American history and how America dealt with the loss of their beloved president as well as what happened to the surviving Lincoln family members in the aftermath of the assassination.
Packard’s history takes us back in time. His biographical sketches of the Lincoln family and their times is well-written and fantastically detailed that lends a sense of intimacy with this tragic American family.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by by Katarina Bivald ; translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies., 394 pages, read by Kira, on 08/23/2016
Bookworm Zara from Sweden had intended to visit her pen-pal in Iowa, but upon arrival finds the town returning from her pen-pal Amy’s funeral. The folks in this dying/dead-end town of Broken Wheel, have Zara stay in Amy’s place and refuse to let her pay for groceries, etc. Zara ends up opening a book store in this dying rural town.
I am Not a fan of romance – which I define as 2 characters too stupid to realize the other person is in love with them – and I didn’t care for this aspect of the book. However, I would still recommend the title.
With numerous references to novels across the spectrum, this is a treat for book-lovers!
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, 435 pages, read by Kira, on 08/23/2016
At age 6 the boy is deposited on the king’s doorstep by his maternal grandfather, saying that the royals can pay for his upkeep now. There is no denying his parentage, as he looks exactly like his father, who is forced to renounce the kingship. The boy ends up with the stable-master for a couple of years, then is forced by the king to apprentice as an assassin. Much intrigue follows. He has 2 magical skills a) The Wit: he is able to bond with animals and share their minds, b) The Skill he is able to influence people.
A good book, kept my interest, though perhaps a bit gloomy for my tastes, whenever something goes right, shortly thereafter it turns out to be too good to be true, and things get worse.
The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgarad (Book 1) by Rick Riordan, 497 pages, read by Donna, on 08/21/2016
I highly recommend following this series on audio if, like me, Norse names and words totally flummox you. I have never been a huge audio-book fan, but this method truly allowed me to enjoy this book. I didn’t have to worry about how to pronounce Asgard or Valhalla or any of the hundred words with extra consonants. Magnus is a different type of demigod hero than the ones from past series. Being homeless and then dead, sets him apart from those who were raised by a family member. I am intrigued with where the next books will lead and I like the strong characters and how they have become a “family” that will be there as needed. I also have to admit, I am looking forward to seeing how Riordan ties Annabeth and Greek myths into the Norse story.
Magnus Chase is dead. Literally. To be honest, it’s kind of an improvement; he’s been living on the streets since his mother was brutally killed, and now, after a brief confrontation with one seriously creepy dude, 16-year-old Magnus finds himself deceased, spirited away by a Valkyrie to Valhalla with a host of people who have died heroic deaths. But even though his father was apparently a Norse, god, Magnus still may not really belong. Worse, the apocalypse, Viking-style, is looming, and Magnus must find a mysterious, magical sword. Though leaving Valhalla could spell trouble, he escapes into the Nine Worlds with a handful of weird friends to find that sword before the bad guys do. But trickster-god Loki is pulling strings, and it may not be clear who the bad guys really are. Riordan Has once again created a reluctant hero who finds himself out of his depth. He stays fairly close to the spirit of the original myths, twisting them for extra comedic effect. Avengers fans may hardly recognize this blustery, re-headed, TV-binge-watching Thor. There’s appeal for new readers, but Percy Jackson fans will also undoubtedly snap this up, and there’s even some overlap: Magnus’ cousin is Annabeth Chase.
Maggie Reagan, 2015 Booklist, American Library Association. Used with permission.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, 330 pages, read by Kayla, on 08/23/2016
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake. (–Goodreads.com)
I was so excited to read this book based on the short summary, and it did not disappoint. Irene is actually quite a capable female lead, using her head and keeping a cool when others would likely panic or make the situation worse. It was really refreshing to see someone who, even when things were going out of control, managed to stay collected and focused on making it through each dangerous encounter. Kai is a nice counter-balance to Irene’s character, being a slightly more emotion driven character and always following the orders Irene gives him. The two work well together, and even though there is a small flicker of romance, it’s not enough to deter from the main story, nor does it cause any undue strife or grief between the main characters. I can’t wait to read the next one.
Hidden prey by Cheyenne McCray, 276 pages, read by Melody, on 08/21/2016
New York Times best selling author Cheyenne McCray returns to steamy romantic suspense with a high-octane thriller about a woman running from a Mexican cartel and the man determined to protect her.
Tori Cox, a talented and sought after musician, heads back to her roots in a small southwest town in Arizona as she flees an abusive relationship. When she arrives in Bisbee, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time—and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by none other than the son of El Demonio, the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Tori and everyone she loves is now in danger as the cartel comes after her before she can testify.
Landon Walker, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, rescues Tori when he sees the beautiful woman running from members of one of the most ruthless cartels in the world. He sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough. The fire between them makes him want her in a way that he’s never wanted another woman, despite his wounded heart.
Diego Montego Jimenez will do everything in his power to kill the young American woman who threatens his business and family. No one lives to testify against the Jimenez Cartel. Landon isn’t about to let the cartel get hold of Tori. He’ll go to the ends of the earth and back to protect her—and show her he’s never letting her go.
100 Days by Nicole McInnes, 287 pages, read by Angie, on 08/19/2016
100 Days is the story of three teenagers: Agnes, Moira and Boone. Agnes and Moira have always been best friends. Agnes has progeria, a disease that ages the person rapidly, and has lived longer than most kids with progeria. Moira has always acted as Agnes’s protector. They are a contrasting pair but their friendship works. Agnes is tiny and sick and loves sparkly things. Moira is a bigger girl who has gone goth to protect herself from bullying. Boone used to be friends with the girls, but they had a falling out in middle school right about the time his world was falling apart. Now in high school they have been thrown back together and their friendship renewed. Little do they know that they have regrouped at the end of Agnes’s life.
The book counts down the final 100 days of Agnes. It is told in alternating voices of Agnes, Boone and Moira. Each has a distinct voice so they are easy to tell apart. All three are also really well realized and seem like normal teens. Agnes is the one who holds the group together at first. She is willing to give Boone a second chance. I liked the fact that each of the characters go through their own journey during the 100 days of the book. It isn’t a maudlin story about waiting for death; it is a celebration of life and coming to terms with the life you have to live. It is a story about love and friendship, hope and despair, and life and death.
I received this book from Netgalley.