27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Noelle, Thriller/Suspense

Micro by MIchael Criton and Richard Preston, 429 pages, read by Noelle, on 02/23/2015

Umm… this book is SILLY :)  It’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids meets Lord of the Flies meets nanotechnology.  It wasn’t particularly well written and the narrator must have had a previous stint as a sports announcer.  That being said, my hubby and I had fun to listening to this on a car trip and it kept us awake while driving.  Hurray for safe driving!  It also ignited a lot of imaginative conversations on our trip.  Also, I have a fondness for beetles and I think Michael Crichton did as well.

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Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye. In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier. But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

Scandal, love, family, and murder combine in this gripping mystery by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault, in which a young woman’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested for murder and she must prove his innocence

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years after starting her PhD program–one marriage, one divorce, three cats and a dog later–Theresa Battle still hasn’t finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copywriting job for a local candle company.

Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn’t have it together, either. Creative and loyal, he’s also aimless, in both work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten. When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea it will be the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet academic world.

Soon Kim’s body is found in the woods, and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a murderer. As she investigates Kim’s past, she uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal–and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Noelle, NonFiction

Bright bazaar : embracing color for make-you-smile style by Will Taylor, photographs by Andrew Boyd, 191 pages, read by Noelle, on 02/19/2015

I love color and I love Will Taylor’s style.  Bright and beautiful!

Known for his bold and refreshing take on color, Will Taylor, the founder of Bright Bazaar, one of the world’s leading interior design blogs, shares his secrets to choosing colors that work for every room in your house. Structured around the different spaces within the home, the book breaks down the how, when, and where of using different shades and color combinations. Will’s fun and lighthearted approach shows the reader how to look around for color inspiration and how to start to incorporate colors into both the smaller and larger components of a room like walls, floors, furniture, fabrics, and accessories.Beautifully photographed inspirational examples will be accompanied by “Color Scrapbooks” which break each room down to the individual elements drawing the reader into the details that make each colorful space successful. With pearls of “Will’s Wisdom”, like top painting tips or how to add temporary color, and recipes for “Color Cocktails” in a range of palettes, Taylor’s vibrant and easy-to-follow guide to color and its ability to transform our homes and our lives offers readers the confidence they need to perfect their color choices.

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27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton, 272 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/19/2015

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco, 326 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/12/2015

Much to Alanis McLachlan’s surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother’s tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died.

With help from a hunky cop and her mother’s live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother’s clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards … and the secrets surrounding her mother’s demise.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, 416 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/05/2015

Special Agent Pendergast-one of the most original, compelling characters in all of contemporary fiction-returns in Preston and Child’s new exhilarating novel Blue Labyrinth.

A long-buried family secret has come back to haunt Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast…

It begins with murder. One of Pendergast’s most implacable, most feared enemies is found on his doorstep, dead. Pendergast has no idea who is responsible for the killing, or why the body was brought to his home. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect crime, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased.

The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California’s Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his own family’s sinister past.

But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is being stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. And he soon becomes caught in a wickedly clever plot, which leaves him stricken in mind and body, and propels him toward a reckoning beyond anything he could ever have imagined…

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books · Tags:

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 02/27/2015

An intriguing novel-in-verse about two girls with Crohn’s Disease sharing a hospital room. Chess is new to the disease and ended up in the hospital after a party/date with her crush turned disastrous. She is not happy to have something called irritable bowel syndrome and doesn’t want to see friends or family and definitely not the crush. Shannon, on the other hand, has been living with disease for years. She is past the hiding stage and well into the angry stage. The two girls don’t seem to have anything in common, but they bond over their common enemy…Crohn’s. The girls are in beds separated by a curtain and the novel represents this with a line down the middle of the page separating their words. It is an unusual topic for a teen book but one that seems timely. I think the novel-in-verse style works really well as it gives the reader just enough information and allows the reader to be more immersed in the characters.

Siblings Zander, Kit and M.K. West have been on their own ever since their dad died while on an expedition. Their father was the famous explorer Alexander West with the Expedition Society. He was a map maker who helped map many of the New Lands when they were discovered. The New Lands opened up new resources for a world that had run out. People are no longer dependent on technology but have reverted to steam machines again. The Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands controls all the expeditions to and the wealth from the New Lands. They cleaned out the West house when the dad died and have been watching the kids. One day in the market Kit is handed a book from another explorer from his dad. He is told to keep it secret and it is a good thing because BNDL is at the house when he returns looking for it. The map is half a map to Drowned Man’s Canyon and a hidden treasure in gold. The kids head to Arizona to discover why their dad left them the map. They are helped along the way by another child of an explorer. They are followed by BNDL who wants to get their hands on the treasure. What they discover will change how they think of the world and their father.

This was a fun steampunk adventure story. I enjoyed the fact that it was all about maps and figuring out how to read them. Kit is the map expert in the group. Zander as the oldest likes to think he is the leader, but it is more Kit’s show than anything. M.K. was a delight; a tough girl who loves machines and tinkering with them. Their friend Sukey is a pilot and helps them escape the BNDL. I like the thought of undiscovered lands in our world but am not really sure how that would work. In the book it is because the Mueller Machines controlled the maps and they just didn’t show these lands, but you do wander how no one really noticed them. There is a lot of mystery about the dad and what he was really up to and whether he was part of a secret society of mapmakers. There is a lot of adventure as the kids make their way across the country pursued by BNDL and as they follow the map to the treasure. This is the beginning of a series so the ending leaves the story open for further adventures.

27. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, 438 pages, read by Kira, on 02/26/2015

fangirlTwin sisters, Cath and Wren (their mother had prepared only one name for one child – Cather-Wren) had been really tight after their mother abandoned her daughters and bipolar husband years ago.    Now that its time to head off to college, Wren the extrovert wants more space, wants her own roommate, and doesn’t want Cath around much.  Cath the awkward introvert feels abandoned by Wren, especially when Wren reconnects with their mother.  Cath has coped by writing fanfiction for a series called Simon Snow – a Harry-Potteresque fantasy series (Wren used to help her).  Simon Snow books were what got the sisters through the rough times, through their abandonment, through their father’s hospitalization, etc.  Cath continues to write Simon Snow stories – much to the annoyance of her tough-girl roommate Reagon.  Then there’s Reagon’s boyfriend Levi who hangs around their room all the time.  Rowell writes great love scenes – only light kissing is detailed, but she makes it seem so hot!

Not everything is explained, like the reason from Wren wanting distance, nor why their mother is so shallow.  Nonetheless a fabulous read!

I am loving Rainbow Rowell’s books.  Rainbow Rowell’s next book will be about Simon Snow – the story within the story – I can’t wait!

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18594358“Get Up” is a book that explores the detrimental health consequences of our chair-addicted society. Humans are not meant to sit all day, and doing so results in a wide array of issues from back pain to obesity. “Get Up” is a fascinating read, and it has inspired me to move more through my day and maybe even get a treadmill desk. The only problem with this book is that it didn’t give much practical day to day advice for people to be more active and less chair-addicted.

26. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books · Tags:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven , 388 pages, read by Kristy, on 02/06/2015

18460392I decided to read “All the Bright Places” because I had heard from several people that it is just like “The Fault in our Stars.” And I love “The Fault in our Stars”! I can see how people relate the two: “The Fault in our Stars” is about the struggles of two teens with a physical illness, and “All the Bright Places” is about the struggles of two teens who have emotional issues.

“All the Bright Places” is well written and brings up important issues like bullying, suicide, and bi-polar disorder. Despite this, I just didn’t get into the book the way I had expected to. It was a slow read for me. But I can tell that the author had a lot of enthusiasm for this story and her characters, which I can admire. I liked the author’s note at the end, describing Niven’s personal experiences with mental illness and suicide.

26. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, 384 pages, read by Lisa, on 02/25/2015

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Description from Goodreads.com.

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

Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn, 320 pages, read by Jessica, on 02/21/2015

91zsHPSE5wL._SL1500_On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.

From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.

And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.

So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.

Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its

Neil Gaiman is possibly to best writer of today’s literature.  Everything he writes is magic.  Neil writes another beauty in Trigger Warning a group of short stories to amaze and wonder about.  It is worth reading.

 

25. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Mystery

Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell, 336 pages, read by Brian, on 02/20/2015

WM2Lily, a witch for who loves Victorian clothing, is hired to check on some paranormal activity in a San Francisco School of Fine Arts.  Is it a demon behind all of this commotion or something more human, Lily uses her skills to find out.

 

25. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Sizzle by Julie Garwood, 320 pages, read by Melody, on 02/23/2015

Whether it’s exhilarating historical romance or spine-tingling contemporary suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood weaves magnificent stories of passion, adventure, and intrigue. Now she raises the heat and spices up the action with a sexy, smart, daring new heroine and a smoldering thriller that’s classic Garwood and pure Sizzle.

Lyra Prescott, a Los Angeles film student, is closing in on graduation and facing important decisions about her future. She’s already been offered a job at her hometown TV station, an opportunity that could ultimately launch her dream career as a film editor. But heading back home would also mean dealing with her overprotective brothers, social-climbing mother, and eccentric grandmother. Unsure of her future, Lyra dives into work on her final school assignment: a documentary transformed by a twist of fate into a real-life horror film.

After she unwittingly captures a shocking crime on camera, a rash of mysterious, treacherous incidents convince Lyra that she’s trapped in a sinister scenario headed for a violent ending. Running scared, she turns to her best friend, Sidney Buchanan, whose connections bring dauntless and devilishly handsome FBI agent Sam Kincaid into Lyra’s life. As the noose of deadly intrigue tightens and the feelings between them deepen, Lyra and Sam must place their faith in each other’s hands and stand together against the malevolent forces about to break loose.

No one mixes life-and-death suspense with feverish desire better than Julie Garwood. In Sizzle she burns hotter and brighter than ever, keeping the action and passion blazing till the incredible, unforgettable end.

Description from Goodreads.com.

25. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Black Wings by Christina Henry, 295 pages, read by Kira, on 02/24/2015

Madeline Black is an agent of Dblack wingseath, guiding souls to the door of the afterlife.  Shortly after she rents out the lower rooms in her house, to hot-looking Gabriel Angeloscuro, demons wanting to kill her start showing up near her house, including her evil half-brother Antares.  The author does some interesting world-building, building a genealogy of residents of heaven, but mostly hell.  I picked up this title on accidB0351_BlackWings_coverent, thinking it was another by Barb Hendee – both have call # HEN.  Enjoyable enough of a read, but I doubt I’ll continue the series.fantasy-and-gothic-pictures-girl-with-black-wings-and-blue-dress

25. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim B · Tags:

11/22/63 by Stephen King, 849 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/22/2015

kingbookjacketsx-wide-community I have to rate this book as one of Stephen King’s best after his novel The Stand. The premise of the book is what would happen is someone could travel back in time and stop Oswald from shooting JFK. The results of the plot will surprise you. However, it is not just about the assassination, but all the events for the time traveler leading up to it. Major parts of this book are very emotional.  I love the way he ties in another of his major novels It with this more recent book and Stephen King is well-known for tying in other characters of his stories into later novels. The book reveals the decisions the time traveler must make as well as the consequences of his actions. I highly recommend it.

25. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: History, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Hitler Youth by Michael H. Kater, 356 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/20/2015

hitler youthThis book gives a good history of how children and teenagers were raised and trained with National Socialist propaganda. The author uses case histories of real people who had grown up during that era in that situation. The book also tells us how these children came to grips with what they had been through long after they had grown into adulthood.

25. February 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim B, Teen Books · Tags:

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, 401 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/14/2015

prison night fogI enjoyed reading the book. It is a good way to introduce young adults to the years preceding the Holocaust and the events leading up to it. Plot was good and characters believable.