21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , , , ,

The Art of the Missouri Capitol: History in Canvas, Bronze, and Stone by Bob Priddy, Jeffrey Ball , 399 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/21/2012

The Art of the Missouri CapitolAfter fire destroyed Missouri’s capitol in 1911, voters approved a bond issue to construct a new statehouse. The tax to pay the bonds produced a one-million-dollar surplus, leaving a vast amount of money to decorate the new building. A special commission of art-minded Missourians employed some of the nation’s leading painters and sculptors to create powerful and often huge pieces of art to adorn Missouri’s most important new structure.

The Art of the Missouri Capitol presents the art in 270 images, many by Lloyd Grotjan, mostly of the building’s many compelling paintings, murals, and sculptures. Priddy, a journalist who has covered the Missouri legislature for more than three decades, and Ball, an art historian, use a wealth of historical materials to connect the grand design of the capitol decorations with accounts of sometimes temperamental artists and meddling politicians. The authors provide historical and artistic context to explain the many surprising, controversial choices the artists made, and they use Missouri history to explain the tales depicted in the artwork, revealing the events—and inaccuracies—that the paintings bring to life.

There were lots of stories and information that I have either forgotten from my school tour days or just never heard since the tour guides have to keep groups of kids interested and moving through the building. Did you know there is accidentally one too many stars on the representation of the Great Seal of Missouri on the capitol floor? There are supposed to be 24 to represent Missouri joining the union as the 24th state but the artist carved one too many. So, if you’ve ever stared at the seal and thought the stars were unbalanced or something was off about it… you are correct.

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Mystery, Tracy

Death at the Chateau Bremont by M L. Longworth, 311 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/21/2012

Death at the Chateau BremontThis mystery takes place in France where the victim is pushed out an attic window at the Chateau Bremont.  The two main characters, Antoine Verlaque the local chief magistrate and Marine Bonnet
a professor of law, had a relationship in the past so there is still some feelings between them. I had a hard time concentrating on the murder because the author is very explicit about the food, wine and coffee. Chasing after murderers make you hungry and thirsty and of course France is known for its cuisine.

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Horror, Teen Books

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/19/2012

First, thank you to the wonderful people at Tor who gave me this ARC. I love you! I love this series and I devoured this book. And no they did not pay me to say this.

Girl of Nightmares picks up six months after Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas has stayed in Thunder Bay to finish high school. He is still hanging out with Thomas and Carmel and dispatching the occasional ghost. And he is haunted by visions of Anna. He doesn’t think she has moved on and in fact he finds out she is trapped in Hell. He is pissed and wants to rescue her. Does he get support for this? Nope. Gideon, Mom, Morphan all want him to back off and leave it alone. Pretty much Thomas is the only one on his side. Of course this isn’t going to stop Cas…he loves Anna and isn’t going to leave her trapped in Hell, plus she is kind of haunting him.

As far as I am concerned Anna Dressed in Blood was awesome. Girl of Nightmare may not be as good but it is a great follow up. We learn all kinds of interesting things about the athame and Gideon and secret societies that could take this series in new directions or it could just end it. I love Cas; I think he is an awesome character and I love the relationships he has with the other characters in this book. I like that the story progresses and that there seems to be a purpose behind all the revelations. Thomas and Carmel grow in this book as well. I think Thomas has the potential to be a true badass! I can’t wait for more people to read this one, which is why I have shared my ARC with all my friends!

The library doesn’t have this book yet since it won’t come out until August 2012, but we will buy it then. Until then read Anna Dressed in Blood and eagerly anticipate.

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody H

Songs of Love and Death by edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardener Dozois, 643 pages, read by Melody, on 03/14/2012

Excellent suggestion, Qhyrrae.  Songs of Love and Death is an wonderful anthology of short stories by the some of the best authors of fantasy and science fiction.  Some of the works were more to my taste than others, I especially liked Neil Gaiman’s and Lisa Tuttle’s stories but the whole collection was very sound.  There is something for most everyone in this book; romances, fairies, space ships, and zombies.    Great read.


21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody H, NonFiction

The Dangerous Book for Dogs by Rax and Sparky , 193 pages, read by Melody, on 03/10/2012

A wonderful parody on the ever popular Dangerous Books for series, A Dangerous Book for Dogs is a fun book about the ins and outs of being a dog.  If you have ever wondered what to smell (everything), what to chase ( not skunks) and how to make your owner look like an idiot (poop twice when he only has one bag); this is the book for you.   It is a toss up whether my favorite chapter is “Creative Pee Stains” or “Bitches”, or maybe “What is Edible” which is more than most humans think.  

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody H, Teen Books

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, 345 pages, read by Melody, on 03/20/2012

Perhaps I read too many teen books, or there is a serious lack of originality, but all the plots are starting to run together.  This is the second book in the past two months that I have read that is about a teen-age descendent of Medusa who is a butt kicking monster killer.  Sweet Venom is actually about a three descendents, triplets, who find each other in San Fransisco, the epicenter for mythical monsters.  The three sisters are very different; one is a trained monster killer, one is a eco-loving vegetarian, and one is an society princess.  Told from alternating point of views,  the best part of the book is the interaction of the three sisters who not just find each other but also their mythical destiny. 

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody H, Paranormal

A Nameless Witch by A Lee Martinez, 320 pages, read by Melody, on 03/16/2012

How can a person not read a book with the subtitle of A Tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism.  A Nameless Witch is a the story of a girl afflicted with a family curse, she is a ghoul, immortal and everyoung with a talent for witchcraft and a taste for the occasional person.  Along with a demon duck, a fall apart troll, and an enchanted broom, she seeks the killer of her mentor and friend.  Fast-paced and funny, Martinez is a great storyteller.  Highly recommend this book.

21. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Short Stories · Tags:

Faery tales & nightmares by Marr, Melissa , 418 pages, read by Kira, on 03/19/2012

Faery tales and nightmaresWell you really ought to read this after you finish the last in the Wicked Lovely Series….because it finishes or picks up individual tales/plotlines from the various protagonists in that series, as well as having a couple of other short stories unrelated to the Wicked Lovely series.  The first one I read, about Donia & Keenan was a little fluffy with Not much happening, but I did enjoy hearing more about Irial and Niall – though, I am bored to tears with Leslie, please give her a rest.  The story The Sleeping Girl was in some ways a redo or Wicked Lovely, but in other ways it was fresh.  I didn’t like the vampire story Transition, it was a bit too much negative deja vu (and gross).  I liked the Selchie tale, it had an interesting twist.

20. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

Everneath by Brodi Ashton, 370 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/18/2012

I read a ton of reviews pertaining to this one and most of them were very positive, so I was pretty excited to pick this one up. I always have to begin reading with the knowledge that hype does not necessarily equal a book I will enjoy. That being said, I wound up with very mixed feelings about Everneath.
This is ostensibly a modernized retelling of the Persephone myth. Nikki Bennett is returning from a 6 month stay in the Everneath (not the Underworld or Hell, but more of a strange sort of purgatory) where she has been fed off of by the Everliving. She was lured there by a fellow named Cole and she wasn’t supposed to return. But she did, mainly because of her love for her boyfriend, Jack. Now that she’s on the surface, she’s got 6 months to figure out a loophole or she’s headed back to the Everneath either as a queen or a living battery to feed the Tunnels.
So I liked the concept and the book was extremely fast-paced. I never really found myself bored, but I did find myself frustrated with the main character. And really, it’s probably more of a personal thing for me. It just bothered me that Nikki’s reason for returning centered around her boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong, theirs is a sweet relationship. I just hate to see the “true love” trope being used in so many teen books. I really wanted there to be more that Nikki would want to live for than her boyfriend. Maybe herself? Her family (she mentions a little brother a few times)? Would that be too much to ask? But no, it’s a romance and those looking for their next paranormal romantic fix will definitely enjoy this one.

20. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books

Crossed by Ally Condie, 367 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/17/2012

Well, generally when I like a series enough to follow along, I don’t wind up too disappointed with any of the volumes. I did enjoy Matched. I thought it was an interesting concept that, with a bit more development, could really grow into an interesting story. Unfortunately, Crossed doesn’t really deliver. I wound up feeling like I didn’t know any more about what had happened to the society than I did before starting the book. Cassia and Ky, while totally obsessed with each other, don’t really make much progress as characters or people. And honestly, not a whole lot really happens here. There’s a lot of traveling, a tiny bit of history(one of the primary redeeming qualities, at least for me), and a few new characters, a few of which don’t even make it through the whole book. I have my theories about who the “Enemy” is and what the nature of the Rising will be like, but I’m not even sure there’s enough interest left for me to follow through with the next installment. Those who are more fans of romance, however, may be more captivated by this than I was.

20. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Janet

Toys by James Patterson, 364 pages, read by Janet, on 03/18/2012

ToysWe never outgrow our enjoyment of toys – unless they are threatening.  This is an exciting contest of Humans and the super powerful Elites that were given the very best of all qualities at birth.  Hays Baker is very well endowed with special skills, but finds himself attacked by both Humans and Elites – which is he?  The toys that entertain the Elites are so human-like that they can be programmed to do anything – even attack.  Who will rule the world?

20. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Brian, Drama, Fiction, Horror

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn , 1088 pages, read by Brian, on 03/09/2012

I love the television show, The Walking Dead on AMC, so it stands to reason I would want to read the graphic novels too.  This compendium covers the first eight novels into one economical book.  This means you can sit in your chair, grab a beverage, read all night long then call in sick for work.   The story follows Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma alone in a hospital to find the world ruled by the undead.  Rick finds his family with a group of people and they embark on a journey for survival and trying to find a way to have as normal as a life possible in this hideous world.  Even though the story involves zombies it is more human interaction and how people relate to one another in desperate times.  I enjoyed it very much.

20. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Odyssey by J. Michael Straczynski, 168 pages, read by Brian, on 03/14/2012

Do you really know Wonder Woman?  Throw out all you know about Wonder Woman and enjoy the newer version.  This graphic novel centers around Diana and how she must figure out what happened to her timeline and find out who destroyed Paradise Island.  This is a whole new Diana/Wonder Woman, costume and with new foes. Diana’s tone is meaner and leaner and more enjoyable.

19. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine, 320 pages, read by Brian, on 03/08/2012

Working Stiff is a zombie story.  Not your “I want to eat your flesh” zombie story but rather I will bring you back to life story. Bryn Davis has had a bad first week of work at the mortuary.  Not only is she adjusting to her new job; she also died. You see, Bryn stayed at work too long and stumbled into illegal happenings in the basement. A pharmaceutical company has developed a drug which can bring deceased people back to life, for a fee, of course.  The drug is not a permanent cure and the individual must keep getting shots or rot away and die.

Davis was left to die but the good guys gave her the shot and now she now a working stiff trying to catch the bad guys.  Will this be a dead end for Bryn?  Read the book and find out.

19. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

The cloth paper scissors book : techniques and inspiration for creating mixed-media art by Delaney, Barbara, 159 pages, read by Kira, on 03/17/2012

The Cloth Paper Scissors BookVery Nice Eye-Candy – beautiful pics.  Unfortunately, this appears to be highlights instead of in-depth detailed instructions.  One of my favorite artists Beryl Taylor has 2 pieces in here, however she covers one of these highlights in her book Mixed media explorations : blending paper, fabric, and embellishment to create inspired designs across several chapters.  So they highlights are inspiring, but they won’t provide a lot of details

19. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Kira, NonFiction, Science, Travel · Tags:

Bonobo handshake : a memoir of love and adventure in the Congo by Woods, Vanessa , 278 pages, read by Kira, on 03/26/2012

Bonobo handshakeI really liked this book, I very much looked forward to listening to it in the car, I also loved the narrators Aussie accent. Vanessa Woods comes across as fun, positive, appreciative of others (except sometimes her man).

The book cover is a bit misleading, you are going to get a bit more than just cute human-ape interactions, relationships, and animal research.  En route you will encounter the brutality people endured in the Congo, in Uganda, Rwanda, about the corruption that Western governments propped up, (out of their fear of communism).  Its Not rated PG.   Since the author is Australian, the reticence to discuss sex, is absent.  Its kind of startling how frank she is.  She is also very funny.  I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what exactly a bonobo handshake is.
Bonobo’s are cousins of chimpanzees, but they are the peaceful loving species. The Chimps and Bonobo’s are our (human’s) closest extant relatives.   The author asks the question are we more like Chimps or Bonobos – but leaves the question open at the end.

18. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Fever Dream by Preston & Child, 562 pages, read by Tracy, on 03/18/2012

Fever DreamFever Dream is an action packed thriller that takes place first in Africa and then in the US.  The main character Special FBI Agent Pendergast’s wife Helen is killed in a freak accident on Africa.  Twelve years later he learns it was murder. With the help of his friend D’Agosta, a police officer,  he tries to unravel the secrets his wife had before they were married. It was a real page turner and there is a sequel. The authors have written several books together and seem to have the same chemistry as the two characters in this book.

16. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston, 228 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/16/2012

The Scrapbook of Frankie PrattFrankie Pratt receives a scrapbook and her father’s typewriter for her high school graduation presents and hopes to become a writer. Set in the 1920s we following Frankie Pratt through her life as she places letters, artwork, ads, etc., into her scrapbook and tell us her story through her bits and pieces of saved paper and ribbon. This was a fun read but definitely takes you back into another time when women being anything but wives was the exception.

Winner of the Alex Award 2012.

15. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Angel crafts : graceful gifts and inspired designs for 47 projects by Harrison, Holly , 128 pages, read by Kira, on 03/14/2012

Angel craftsHarrison presents an amazing variety of crafty angels you can make – ranging from tin cans to strips of fabric, and an Elvis Presley version.

15. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Block printing : basic techniques for linoleum and wood by Allison, Sandy, 90 pages, read by Kira, on 03/10/2012

Block printingSomehow the examples were kinda’ dark, not very appealing to me.  It did show you how to carve on Linoleum and wood, instead of just speedball rubber.  It also gave very detailed instructions on transfering using graphite paper, but I didn’t see anything on using fingernail polish remover, like I’ve done in the past (nasty-smelling, but easier than the graphite paper work).