24. January 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Teen Books

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner , 325 pages, read by Angie, on 01/23/2012

I have to admit that I was terribly disappointed by the finale of this series. I thought the Maze Runner was an amazing book but The Death Cure was a convoluted mess. There was so much going on and a lot of it did not make any sense. There are plot holes and there are things that contradict previous books.

For instance we are told that the solar flares cause the crank disease but it turns out that it is a virus released by the government. Why were we never told this? Did the kids not know this? You know one of the things about these types of books is that the science is sound. It might be creepy and go against everything you believe in but you can see a hint of truth in the science. I think that is my big problem with this book. The science behind the experiments just has no scientific basis. What true scientist would believe in what they are doing. I guess it never bothered me as much in the other two books because Dashner didn’t focus as much as the background behind why things were happening it was more focused on the now. And the now of things was pretty good and exciting (in a writing perscpective (for those involved it sucked). You basically have three populations left in the world: the people infected with the Flare and crazy (the cranks), the uninfected and those who will eventually become infected, and those who are immune. That’s it. That is your whole population. I get the idea of segregating the populations…that makes total sense scientifically. I even get why the immunes would be resented by the those uninfected. What I don’t get is why the scientist would take the immunes (who I would think would be a precious resource) and put them through horrible trials that kill over half of them in the hopes that they would find one perfect brain. That perfect brain then has all the pathways because of all the horrors it has survived in the Maze and the Scorch to create a cure for the Flare. Reallly? In what weird world does that make any kind of sense??? The books that have the twisty science that revolts you but you can see how it came about and how it can work is what makes these types of books work. This book just misses the mark because the science doesn’t work.

A lot of the characters also seem to just disappear in this book or are barely used at all when they were essential characters in previous books. Teresa, who was one of the main characters, seems to have become a side character or someone who is only there to piss Thomas off. A lot happens in this book, not all of it makes sense; a lot of questions are asked, not all of them are answered. I really wish this series would have ended on the high note that it began on. Although I really do like the end of the book. I wish they would have explored that option earlier on. I kept expecting another WICKED twist throughout the whole book and we did get one and a not unsatisfying one at that. Is this review as convoluted as the plot of this book…maybe? If you have read Maze Runner and Scorch Trials you will want to read this book to see how it all ends.

24. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Paranormal, Robin, Romance · Tags:

Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan, 416 pages, read by Robin, on 01/11/2012

Spirit Bound

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: NonFiction, Tammy, True Crime · Tags: ,

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson, 463 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/08/2012

ThunderstruckDidn’t completely finish this one. Not sure why it didn’t hold my interest like other books by this author. It may just be me at this time, but I would highly recommend Devil in the White City by this author instead, if you are looking for fascinating history blended with a true crime mystery.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

American Pickers Guide to Picking by Libby Callaway, Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, Danielle Colby , 209 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/05/2012

American Pickers Guide to PickingMike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of the American Pickers TV program on History Channel share their experiences traveling across America looking for hidden treasures. These aren’t fine antiques but anything unusual or car or bike related. Sometimes they find just a tail light off an old car but it’s something someone restoring a car would be excited to find. They view part of the job as restoring old things back to useful objects or as items that will be displayed and enjoyed rather than rusting away in an old barn.

The book offers helpful hints and lots of things to consider before you start out “picking” yourself and what it would take to do it professionally. What I enjoyed most where the personal experiences Mike and Frank share in the book.

23. January 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance

Retribution (Dark-Hunter #20) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, 448 pages, read by Angie, on 01/23/2012

I am not sure where this book came from, but I really don’t think it was the Dark Hunter Universe. It seems like Kenyon is just trying to pull out all the pantheons now and bring on whatever apocalypses she can even if they don’t really fit into the world she created. Sure we have seen a lot of different pantheons (Greek, Roman, Sumarian, etc.) in the Dark Hunter series, but they all seem to work, maybe because they all come from a relatively small geographical area and could possibly have interacted with each other in theory. The Native American one just doesn’t fit and this storyline just didn’t fit either.

Let’s forget the problems with the new pantheon and apocalypse for a minute and just focus on the love story. It kind of follows the same path as most of Kenyon’s love stories do. Dark Hunter and love interest meet, don’t care for each other and then fall in love. However, in this case the love interest, Abagail has been raised by Appollites and believes that the DH is the one who killed her family. She has been dosed with demon and trained to kill DHs for revenge. She is blinded by rage and revenge, sets off an apocalypse, yet somehow in the space of a day has a complete turn around realizes she has been duped and her memories corrupted and then falls in love with the DH Sundown. Really?? I’m sorry but even for a paranormal romance book that is a stretch. And then there is their one little quickie in the car, in a carwash, surrounded by killer wasps…seriously one of the worst love scenes ever!

There are some decent parts to this book. We get to see some of our regular DH group: Talon and Sin make appearances. And the bonus chapter where Tori and Ash are having their baby is wonderful. But the continuing storyline that had seemed to be building in previous books seems to have been thrown out the window with this one and it does appear that there will be atleast one more book on this theme with Ren. So we will see where it is going but I don’t have high hopes.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett, 254 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/06/2012

Moving PicturesDiscworld # 10 Story of the alchemist discovering the secret to making silver film but what is the dark secret of Holy Wood. Lots of puns and allusions to classic movies, actresses, actors, film making, and classic Hollywood in general.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , , ,

The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton, 318 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/04/2012

moonflower vineBeautifully written story of a family set in rural Missouri. Thanks for the suggestion Claudia!

This is the summary from the publisher’s website but I couldn’t describe it or summarize the story any better.

On a farm in western Missouri during the first half of the twentieth century, Matthew and Callie Soames create a life for themselves and raise four headstrong daughters. Jessica will break their hearts. Leonie will fall in love with the wrong man. Mary Jo will escape to New York. And wild child Mathy’s fate will be the family’s greatest tragedy. Over the decades they will love, deceive, comfort, forgive—and, ultimately, they will come to cherish all the more fiercely the bonds of love that hold the family together.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears by Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green, 208 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/05/2012

Cherokee Nation and the Trail of TearsBrief historical coverage of the Cherokee Indians and their forced relocation to Oklahoma from multiple states over a period of years. Also discusses the political climate and views that lead to this horrible action being legal.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Paranormal, Robin, Romance · Tags: , ,

Water Bound by Christine Feehan, 488 pages, read by Robin, on 01/01/2012

Water BoundOne of the best parts of this book is the heroine, Rikki, and the way she deals with both her Autism and a new man in her life – one that won’t be pushed aside and is willing to do what it takes to make her comfortable with him. In the beginning of the book, Rikki rescues Lev, the hero, from the sea while she is diving for sea urchins. She figures that she found him in the sea, therefore by the laws of the sea, he is her responsibility. The story, from there, is almost your typical romance, except for the issues created by Rikki’s somewhat severe Autism and her paranormal ability to manipulate water. There is a lot of excitement and action (and a bit of sex, too – though it’s pretty mild) and the story sets up the rest of the “Bound” series by introducing Rikki’s “sisters” (not actually related), each of whom seems to be bound to a different element. If the rest of the series is as good, this will be a great way to get some fun and escapist reading done!

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Robin, Romance

When Beauty Tamed The Beast by Eloisa James, 372 pages, read by Robin, on 01/04/2012

When Beauty Tamed The BeastIn this retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Eloisa James gives us a lovely tale of a breathtakingly lovely woman who falls for an injured and “beastly” man (think Dr. House – Eloisa said in the afterward that he was an inspiration for her hero). The story is well told with enough witty dialogue to make those of us who like sarcastic, bordering-on-nasty heros swoon. There is some explicit sex, though the scenes are fairly short and tastefully written. This was a fun read – quick, too! – and well worth the time I spent immersing myself in the story.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Jessica

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, 387 pages, read by Jessica, on 01/13/2012

index[3]This book was strange, but still pretty good.  I like for my fiction to all have a hint of romance with a love interest.  This book had romance, adventure, and fantasy and it kept me on my toes.  It was not predictable and I enjoyed it.  Although I may go back and read it again, simply because I got lost a couple of times during the book because it jumps around from one year to another and then back again.  Now that I know how it ends re-reading it would probably make the book even better.  I recommend it, if you like something different and out of the ordinary.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Jessica

Best Of Me by Nicholas Sparks, 292 pages, read by Jessica, on 01/06/2012

Best Of MeThis book was a little disappointing.  I usually love Nicholas Sparks’s books; this one was set up exactly like the Notebook, so lacking a little creativity.  However, about 3/4 of the way through I could predict the ending, and I didn’t like it one bit.  I thought of not finishing it, but I did, I was right on my prediction, and right in the fact that I hated the ending.  I will admit that I like happy endings; this was not the happy ending I had hoped for.

23. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books · Tags:

Dust & Decay (Benny Imura #2) by Jonathan Maberry, 519 pages, read by Angie, on 01/22/2012

I have to admit that Rot & Ruin was one of my favorite books last year. It tore at my heart. It was a coming of age novel. In it we meet Benny who learns some hard truths about his world. He learns that what he thought he knew was not in fact that truth. His heroes were actually the villains and his brother who he thought was weak was actually the strongest man around. He also learned that zombies are not the evil in this world–man is. Zombies just have a disease and really can’t control what they do. Man chooses to do the evil he does and therefore should be more feared.

Dust & Decay picks up a few months after the events of Rot & Ruin and we find our band of heroes stronger and ready to set out into the Rot & Ruin to find the jet they saw at the end of the first book. All the characters have grown up in this book: Benny is a lot more mature and accepting of who he is in this world although he does still act like a 15 year old boy palling around with his friends Chong and Morgie at times. Lilah is still the mysteries Lost Girl. Tom is strong and silent, but trying to train the kids and get them ready for the journey ahead but he is ready to leave the protection of the town once and for all. And Nix is ready to leave the town that saw her mother murdered and she struggles with her feelings for Benny.

Their journey is nothing if not disaster upon disaster from the beginning. Maberry can write a wonderful action sequence. And we meet some wonderful and creepy characters along the way. Pretty much everyone from the Zombie Cards shows up for the final battle and it is a doozy. Gameland is back as are more of the Matheis family. If there is one thing I have an issue with in this book it is the repeat of the Gameland/Matheis storyline. It does seem like we did that in Rot & Ruin. I know it is a little different in this book, but it kind of seems like a copout to repeat it hear. I get why it was; the law had to come down and there had to be a show of force, but it still seemed like a repeated plot line from a really gifted author who could have been very original.

And Maberry is very original. He takes something like zombies and really makes it a question of good vs evil. Zombies are only a small part of the equation and really they are just a constant on the equation. Men are really the variables of good and evil on that equation. And Maberry skillfully weaves a tale that makes us think about good and evil, heaven and hell, purgatory and limbo, religion and religious zealots, how to learn when to do what is right.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this series brings. We have two more books to look forward to I figure Rot & Ruin was the freshman sprint out of the box, Dust & Decay was a bit of a sophomore slump but the next two should pick up as they head towards senior graduation.

22. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman , 637 pages, read by Angie, on 01/21/2012

Eona is a fitting end to this set of books. In this book Eona continues her quest to merge with her dragon and find a way to help Kygo restore his kingdom. Unfortunately she needs Ido’s help to train her in the ways of connecting with her dragon and using her power. This leads to a magnificent struggle between the two men over Eona and causes a struggle within Eona herself. I love a book that asks questions, truly deep questions about what is right and wrong, when do you go too far, how should you choose between dark and light, between good and evil? This book asks all those questions of Eona. She is not always an easy person to like. She keeps secrets, she waffles between doing right and wrong, she doesn’t always make the right decisions. But you want to cheer for her, you want to see her come out on the good side in the end. Her struggle is heartbreaking at times but it seems so real as well. She is caught up in a fight that she did not choose, a fight that started 500 years ago and is finally coming to its conclusion. I have to admit that the conclusion is not the one I thought it would be but it was magnificent. Goodman can definitely write a gripping ending that will keep you on the edge of you seat.

I love the characters of this series. They are so well written that you feel like you know them. When one of them betrays the group you feel like you are betrayed. When one makes a wrong decision you feel like you are hurt with the rest of the group. When one dies you want to weep with the rest. That is the mark of a great writer when they can suck you into the story like that. I also love the world Goodman has built in the series. She developed it so well in Eon and continued it here in Eona. It is a mix of ancient Eastern culture and philosophy and Goodman’s own imagination and it all works. I love the dragon twist at the end (which I am not going to give away). It is a wonderful world.

As for the love triangle. I can see how it developed. Eona is torn between the dark and the light throughout this book. Ido and Kygo represent those sides. They are the yen and yang; good and evil. They are pulling her in opposite direction and she is torn between the two. That is all part of the heart of this book. Trying to learn who you are, finding the heart of yourself, choosing your true path. The two men represent her struggle in a real way. Though it can be argued that Kygo isn’t true good I know since he does ask her to do some not so good things I am going to stand by that he is the good in this triangle.

I really enjoyed this series and would definitely recommend it.

22. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Mystery, Tracy

Ring Of Guilt by Judith Cutler, 220 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/21/2012

Ring Of GuiltWith all the themed mysteries available it is easy to find one that fits your interests and hobbies. I like to shop at flea markets and antique malls so this book was fun for me. The main character is an antique restorer and dealer. She is also a divvy, someone who can spot real antiques compared to fakes. The story is set in Kent, UK where there’s no shortage of antiques, punters and forgers. Lina Townend is a likeable protagonist and has plenty of help solving this mystery.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Memoirs, Tammy

If You ask me, And of course you Won't by Betty White, 258 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/09/2012

If You Ask Me, And of Course You Won’tBetty White shares her thoughts and opinions on topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, fans, love for animals, and celebrity. Betty is candid on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times previously.

A fun, fast read.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

Homegrown in the Ozarks: Mountain Meals and Memories by Rolland Love, 241 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/10/2012

Homegrown in the OzarksGood, basic homemade recipes that remind me of when I was a child and the dinners at my grandma’s and my great aunts’ homes. Also meals with my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jack who hunted all the time and I was never sure what critter the meat really came from. I decided early on it was better not to ask.

Also fun Ozark mountain trivia and folklore scattered throughout the book too. And don’t skip the recipe for skunk. Seriously.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Horror, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2012

I have to admit that I almost didn’t finish this book. I was about 50 pages into it and I had an internal debate about whether I wanted to continue reading. The part of me that doesn’t like to leave books unfinished won. Am I glad I finished it…sure. It wasn’t a horrible book; it just wasn’t one of my favorites.

Warm Bodies is basically a zombie love story. It is told from the point of view of R a zombie who eats the brains of a young man named Perry and absorbs his life force (because that is what happens in this zombie world when a zombie eats your brains) and suddenly finds himself in love with Perry’s girlfriend Julie. He saves her and takes her back to his hive. Because of his actions R begins to change, to awake and the world begins to change along with him.

I think I am of the old school zombie world. I like my zombies as mindless beings and the zombies in this book are thinking semihuman creatures who have societies. They form relationships and families and they think even though they don’t talk really. There was a lot of deeper things going on about what it means to be human and such, but I am not sure this book asked those questions as well as other books have. Don’t get me wrong zombie literature is a great way to have that debate, but I am not sure a zombie protagonist works or at least not this one. For some reason this story didn’t resonate with me. I don’t know if it was the romance which I just found strange…would a girl really fall in love with a zombie???? Or the strange zombie awakening and the war between the zombie factions at the end (really what were the boneys??).

There was a good idea in this book and I know there are a lot of people that just love it, but it just wasn’t for me.

The library no longer has a copy of Warm Bodies. I read Mobius copy of this book.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Rage (Riders of the Apocalypse #2) by Jackie Morse Kessler, 213 pages, read by Angie, on 01/20/2012

Rage is the story of Missy Miller a girl who is described as an emo cutter. She dresses in black, she is an outcast at school and at home, her boyfriend dumped her and called her a freak and she cuts herself to take away the pain. Clearly life is not going the way she wants it to. Then Death shows up on her doorstep and offers her a package and calls her War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

I like how this series is not afraid to tackle tough issues. Hunger took on the story of a girl with anorexia and this is the story of a girl who cuts. Kessler doesn’t she away from the gritty details about why she cuts or how she cuts. She doesn’t sugar coat any of the teen angst of it;; she relishes in it as the heart of her story. Missy is an angry, hurt girl; that is part of who she is and cutting is part of that pain and anger and part of who she is. Her parents, sister and friends do not understand or know about that pain nor can they help with it. I like the war between Missy and War; it demonstrates the war going on within Missy herself and the fact that she has to come to terms with who she is in order to accept herself.

If I do have one problem with this book it is that the battle of acceptance was fought and one a little too neatly. I don’t think cutting is something that can be stopped immediately. It is sort of like anorexia in that it is probably a lifelong battle that you have to fight every day and it seems like Missy fought her battle and accepted herself just a little too quickly. But these are very short books so the battles for acceptance are quick ones. I am also not sure where this series is going. We have now met all the Horsemen, but if there is going to be a great apocalyptic battle I haven’t seen any hints of it.

20. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Graphic Novel

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by Chris Roberson, 144 pages, read by Brian, on 01/19/2012

Cinderella as a secret agent?   Sounds a little far fetched at first but when you go to Fabletown, everything seems possible.  Cinderella [Cindy], owns a shoe store in Fabletown which is a cover for her James Bond like activities.  Cindy’s assignment, find out who is selling and moving weapons from Fabletown world into the real world.  With the help of Aladdin and Puss in Boots, Cindy faces her trials and tries to solve the mystery.  I enjoyed the illustrations in the graphic novel and the story was fast and true.  There is some strong language and adult situations, so this novel more appropriate for teens and adults.  Waiting eagerly for Cindy’s next assignment.