11. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Tracy

The World of Poo by Terry Pratchett, 113 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/11/2012

Yes, you read the title right. This book is all about poo. If you’ve read “Where’s My Cow” and any of the Discworld books you might enjoy this one. Geoffrey is a typical little boy who likes to collect things. When his mother is due to have a baby Geoffrey is sent off to his Grand-mamas house. When he arrives he goes out into the garden and feels something warm fall on his head. The gardener tells him it’s good luck when a bird chooses to poo on your head. From that point on Geoffrey decides to start a poo collection. Throughout this book there are footnotes explaining the history of various  things like gongers or gongformores. A nasty job! This book is not for those with a weak stomach but if you are a mother and have changed a lot of a diapers it may not bother you.

10. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Apocalyptic, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

12.21 by Dustin Thomason, 326 pages, read by Andrea, on 10/08/2012

It’s two weeks before the 21st of December, the end of the world for many 2012-ers. For Dr. Gabriel Stanton, a prion researcher at the CDC, it’s just another regular year. L.A. is quiet, and everything seems to be normal. However, by the end of this normal day, Stanton has discovered a prion disease that threatens to wipe L.A. and possibly the rest of the major cities in the world off the map. Chel Manu, a descendant of the ancient Mayans and a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum possesses a stolen Mayan codex that coincidently was acquired through two men who are now dead from the newly discovered prion disease. After translating the first few pages, she starts to believe it holds the secret to why the ancient Mayan kingdoms of her ancestors vanished. A race to save all of humanity begins as Gabe and Chel attempt to combine their knowledge together to understand the Mayan tragedy and discover a cure to the disease that threatens to extinguish modern day civilization.

12.21 was a great read from beginning to end. Thomason combined medical knowledge and Mayan history into an action-packed book that was difficult to put down.

09. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Historical Fiction, Tracy

A Good American by Alex George, 611 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/09/2012

America is the land of immigrants. This book is about Frederick and Jette who left their home in Europe to start a new life in America. They settle down in a town called Beatrice in Missouri in 1904. Their story is full of joy and sadness. Hard working people who lived through wars and bigotry. Changing times and sickness. Prohibition and the stock market crash. The author really gets you involved in the characters and leaves you emotionally drained at times. Growing up in a small town most young people can’t wait to leave. But to some, home is where the family is.

09. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day, 432 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/06/2012

The second series in the Crossfire Series. In Reflected in You it starts rolls right into where Bared to You left off, which is so nice. I don’t like when I start the next book of a series and spend the first chapter catching up and what happened for the past months or year. I do not want to miss out on anything with these books.

Gideon and Eva continue their love affair with more issues than I think they started out with. In this second book I kind of began to hate Gideon Cross. How closed off and uninformative he was really annoyed me. Don’t get me wrong, it was still stuffed full of hot and steamy scenes to keep me happy the whole time reading it. Towards the end of the book though I was really just getting angry. I won’t go into detail why so as not to spoil it for anyone. But at the end I was happy again and cannot wait for Entwined in You to come out.

09. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Bared to You by Sylvia Day, 360 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/03/2012

Eva Tramell moves to Manhattan with her best friend Cary Taylor, who happens to be a very good looking male model. Eva begins working at a marketing company that Gideon Cross owns. They meet and are madly attracted to eachother. Eva of course tries to reject his advances of getting her in bed, until she can no longer contain herself and gives in. They fall in love and realize both have some serious demons from their past.

Holy Moses! This book almost impregnated me I swear! I thought at one point it was getting so hot and steamy it was going to make my iPad catch on fire! I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to find something as amazing as Fifty Shades of Grey, but this was exactly what I needed!

09. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction, Science

Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World by Sally M. Walker, Douglas W. Owsley , 96 pages, read by Angie, on 10/09/2012

Sally Walker does a wonderful job explaining the discovery of Kennewick Man and what was discovered from his remains. She writes on a level that anyone can understand and she provides enough scientific and historical information to make the subject really interesting. I especially liked how she wove the discoveries of other Paleoamerican remains into the narrative. She also provides lots of information and documentation for the discovery with the back matter of the book.

08. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Mousenet by Prudence Breitrose , 400 pages, read by Angie, on 10/07/2012

Mice are the second most intelligent species on the planet; they got smarter after learning about computers. But computers are too big for them; it takes a lot of mice to operate a computer. The solution: the Thumbtop, the world’s tiniest computer, perfect for mice. And the mice want one in every mousehole. The only problem is convincing the humans to help the mice. The Thumbtop was invented by Fred and his niece Megan. Megan just got back from spending two years on an island studying sheep with her mom. Then mom heads to Australia to study wombats and Megan has to leave Fred and move to Oregon to live with her dad and stepmom. Megan has a hard time fitting in, then the mice make contact and things getting even stranger. The mice convince Megan of their plight and get her to help them with the Thumbtops. Along the way we meet her cousin Joey who thinks she is a spy and a talking mouse named Trey.

This book is aimed at ages 8-12 but at almost 400 pages it is a long book for an 8-year-old. I think the story could have been cut down and still gotten the message out. I liked Megan and I liked the mice, but I wasn’t as impressed by the rest of the characters. I thought everyone was pretty one note and not very developed. I never got Joey and his obsession with Megan being a spy. He actually steals the Thumbtop from her at one point and he searches her room. This just didn’t seem like normal behavior for an 11-year-old. I also thought all the adults were pretty much non-characters. I wish this was a better book because I think it has a cute premise and some potential. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work for me.

08. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction, Science

The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood by David R. Montgomery, 320 pages, read by Angie, on 10/06/2012

I have always been fascinated by the fight between religion and science. In my mind, the two are not mutually exclusive as some would believe. I am a firm believer in scientific discoveries and scientific fact, but I can’t help believing that God could have been behind everything as well. There is no reason to say that there was no divine spark that started it all. We will never know for sure and I somehow think it is unscientific to dismiss something just because it can’t be proven or disproved. In my mind, science and faith coexist just fine. I think the Bible is a book written by men over a long period of time and as we all know men are not infallible. They can change things to fit the times or their own beliefs. Does this mean the Bible is wrong or shouldn’t be followed, of course not, but it does mean that a literal interpretation is not the best way to use it. If you use the Bible as a guide for your faith there is no reason to discount scientific discoveries; they can fit with biblical readings just fine.

Montgomery takes the story of Noah’s flood from Genesis and tries to find evidence of it in the geologic record. This book is part history of geology and part investigation of Noah’s flood and I think it works on both counts. It seems, from this book anyway, that geology came about because of biblical investigations specifically flood investigations. Biblical scholars wanted to prove Noah’s flood so they started looking at the rocks and the rivers and the geology of the earth to find their evidence. What they mostly found was proof that Noah’s flood didn’t work exactly like it says in the Bible. They found many flood stories throughout history and the world, and the found evidence of local catastrophic floods but not the world-wide flood from Noah’s story.

I like how Montgomery goes through the entire history of geologic research and how it has changed through the centuries. I also thought he did a great job showing how religious teachings and thought have progressed and digressed through the years as well. I especially found it interesting how modern Creationists are actually just recycling ideas from centuries ago that have since been disproved by both science and the religious community. I think his main conclusion was that science and religion can coexist as long as people are willing to let them. This was a well-thought out and interesting book; maybe a little dry at times but it was about geology so what do you expect.

07. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Mystery, Tracy

Bloodline by Felix Francis, 354 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/05/2012

One of my all time favorite authors is Dick Francis. When he passed away his son Felix, who had helped him on several books, took over writing mysteries about horse racing in England. This book centers around Mark Shillingford a race caller and television presenter. His twin sister Clare is a successful jockey. Mark suspects Clare is guilty of intentional losing several races. They have an argument about it but later that evening Clare is found dead after falling out of a hotel balcony window. The police believe it is suicide but Mark is positive it isn’t. He tries to find out the truth and because of that his life is threatened. As usual with all of the Dick Francis books I couldn’t put it down. Felix has done a wonderful job of continuing these thrillers and I can’t wait to read the next one.

05. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction

Shanks to Shakers: Refelctions of the Missouri State Penitentiary by Mark S. Schreiber, 148 pages, read by Angie, on 10/04/2012

Shanks to Shakers is a pictorial look at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Mark Schreiber is a local historian and used to work at MSP. He has collected an impressive array of artifacts, photos and postcards from the prison. MSP was the longest continuous prison west of the Mississippi River when it closed in 2004; it opened in 1836 and was in operation for 168 years. At one time it was called the bloodiest 47 acres in America. I just took a ghost tour of the prison and found the history of the place fascinating.

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The Diviners by Libba Bray, 578 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/28/2012

Wow. Just…wow. I really enjoyed this book. First, there’s the characters: Evie, a young woman from Ohio who is sent to live with her uncle in Manhattan after she “divines” a bit too much information at a party. Her uncle runs the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult (aka The Museum of Creepy Crawlies) and has been tapped to aid in the investigation of ritual murders taking place in New York. Other characters of note: a young black poet named Memphis, a girl from the Ziegfeld Follies named Theta, a gay pianist who lives with Theta named Henry, a young con man named Sam and the daughter of Jewish anarchists (and Evie’s best friend), Mabel. Every character is distinct and multidimensional. While it may seem as though these characters have little in common, there is one very specific thing that they all have in common and it may be that very thing that will be needed to save New York from the darkness that is rising.
Second, there’s the setting: 1926 New York. You’ll visit speakeasies, jazz clubs, political rallies, murder investigations, not to mention the divinely arcane Museum of Creepy Crawlies. One of my favorite eras in American history, mixed with the supernatural? Happy days!
The plot is intricate and sinister, but there’s a sense of humor too. The dialogue is spot-on with ’20’s vernacular, which adds to the overall ambiance of the book. While the page total is close to the 600 mark, the book never feels slow or boring. The pacing is brilliant. The villain is appropriately evil and it’s quite clear that this is only the beginning. I simply can’t wait for the rest of this trilogy!

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Teen Books

Exposed by Kimbery Marcus, 255 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/22/2012

Liz has been friends-forever with Kate for as long as she can remember. Liz is a gifted photographer and Kate is a gifted dancer. One night during a sleep-over, Liz and Kate get into a fight and Liz leaves Kate to sleep alone on the couch. In the following days, Kate becomes increasingly distant and refuses to tell Liz why. The gossip mill produces a rumor that Kate messed around with Liz’s brother who is visiting from college. When Liz confronts Kate, she realizes that there’s an entirely different side to the story and Liz has no idea who to believe. Her focus, as such, has become severely blurred.
Written in prose, this is a fast-moving book that forces the reader to try and discern just who is telling the truth and what that truth means for the people involved. A good pick for reluctant readers.

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Book, Memoirs

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, 289 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/22/2012

We’ve heard about Alison’s father in her other memoir, “Fun Home”. Now it’s her mother’s turn. Bechdel uses this book to explore her relationship with her mother who is an interesting character in and of herself. Both mother and daughter are writers and intellectuals and their relationship is as complicated as you might expect from such individuals. Bechdel uses a variety of psychological theorists to explore the nature of the mother/daughter bond.
This is not a graphic novel for lightweights. It’s something of a ponderous tome, with extensive reflection on child psychology, feminism and the writing process. This book could keep a Women’s Studies class busy for quite awhile. Plenty of food for thought, particularly for mothers and daughters.

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy #1) by Sarah Zettel, 304 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/19/2012

Fairies plus Dust Bowl era equals fascinating stuff. Callie’s mother disappears during the worst dust storm in Kansas history and Callie’s life immediately changes. She attempts to keep the family hotel running in spite of the dust covering the majority of the town, but is rewarded by a visit from a family of fae in disguise (they’re really giant grasshoppers!). Callie begins to realize that her heritage may not be exactly what she thought it was and that her long-lost father may not only be a black man (a secret kept between Callie and her mother), he may not even be human at all. Together with a young con man, Callie begins a quest to find her missing parents.
Their journey takes them across the heartland, into roadhouses and dance contests. The setting is vivid with lots of ’30’s era details. Music plays a major role both in the time period and in Callie’s life. Bonus points to Zettel for adding a playlist at the back of the book which includes the likes of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and recordings made by Alan Lomax. Even Count Basie makes an appearance near Kansas City!
I’m smitten with the premise and concept. The writing is fantastic and I will definitely be checking out further installments in this trilogy.

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, 160 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/30/2012

Can I just say how much I adore Vaughan’s work?  Seriously, I haven’t read anything by him that disappoints.  Saga, his newest series, his no exception.  In fact, it might even be my new favorite of his.  It’s a sci-fi fairy tale, complete with star-crossed lovers and their offspring.  It may just be the beginning, but I’m already hooked and can’t wait until this comes out in print.  Completely original and imaginative.

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner, 360 pages, read by Andrea, on 10/03/2012

So the Gladers went from a horrible maze with creepy, blob-like creatures to a wasteland of endless desert wracked with solar flares, lightning storms and crazy humans that have the Flare, a virus that apparently eats away at the brain and makes people irrationally violent and very dangerous. The desert, better known as the Scorch, is the Gladers next trial. They must make it across the Scorch in two weeks to a safe haven – about 100 miles of dry land to cover. Even worse, there is another group consisting of all girls that went through a maze trial very similar to the one the Gladers endured and they are out to get Thomas, the main guy from the first book. I feel with this book the reader becomes more aware of who WICKED is and what the group’s role is in all of the “trials.” It was more informative than the first one as they reveal more of Thomas’s lost memories. I was certainly more excited about the second book, as it goes further into detail why the things in the first book happened the way they did.

 

04. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Janet

The Sandman - Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, 152 pages, read by Janet, on 09/28/2012

This is a very interesting Sandman collection with only four stories, but they are quite involved.  The most easily recognized from classical tales is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  This version combines real people (putting on the show) with mystical creatures (the audience) for this dream story and gives their interaction. The very last story tells the author’s directions for the artists on the script, scenes, description of characters, and some of his thoughts on the story at that point for the first story in the book “Caliope”.  The artists sometimes write their comments, too.  It is very interesting how complete everything is planned to bring the story to life.  To the reader it just seems to flow along.

03. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books

Everneath by Brodi Ashton , 370 pages, read by Angie, on 10/02/2012

Nikki has just returned from 100 years in the Everneath, which was actually only 6 months in the real world. She comes back broken and bereft of emotions. The only thing she thought about while she was under was her boyfriend Jack, who betrayed her and caused her to accept Cole’s offer of the Everneath. Nikki has 6 months before she is sucked back under to become a battery in the Tunnels. Cole wants her to come back with him and rule the Everneath as his queen. Jack wants to understand what happened and wants Nikki back.

So this book took me longer to read than anything in a long time. I started it, was bored and put it down. When I finally picked it back up I made myself read it to the end. It wasn’t a bad book or poorly written, it just didn’t excite me or really have anything that interesting to say. I was intrigued by the Persephone/Hades myth and how Ashton was going to retell it. I love books that weave mythology through their stories. Unfortunately, the mythology really took a back seat to the love triangle. Nikki/Jack/Cole dominated the story. First I hate love triangles! I don’t know why every book has to have a love triangle. Seriously! Second, the characters just weren’t that compelling or interesting. I found I really didn’t care one way or the other about who Nikki was going to pick. I wanted more excitement and information about the Everneath, the Daughters of Persephone and the Everliving. The book didn’t deliver anything except a trite love story. Great ideas just fell a bit short in this book.

02. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Literary Fiction, Tracy

The Unlikely Pilgrmage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, 296 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/02/2012

Harold Fry has retired from working at a brewery and lives in the same house with his wife for 45 years. One day he gets a letter from a former co-worker Queenie. She has terminal cancer and is saying goodbye. Harold decides to write a letter to Queenie but on the way to the postbox he makes a decision that shocks his wife and himself. He decides to deliver the letter himself and walk all the way to her hospice. With no supplies or cell phone he starts walking from southern England to Berwick on the border of Scotland and England. Over 500 miles alone. Fortunately he does have his credit card and it is springtime. This story is very sad at times because Harold has a lot of time to think about all the things he regrets in his life. His one hope is to get to Queenie before she dies and sends her cards along the way. His wife Maureen is confused, angry but eventually she respects his pilgrimage. It’s a life changing pilgrimage for both of them.

02. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel · Tags: ,

Knight and Squire by Paul Cornell, 160 pages, read by Brian, on 10/01/2012

Have you ever wondered what Batman and Robin would be like British?  Even if you haven’t, this is a good graphic novel for you.  Knight and Squire is about the British version of Batman and Robin and the villains they battle.  In this particular tale, villains and heroes meet at a secret bar to talk about old times.  The bar has a magical barrier which keeps the peace between the foes but what would happen if the magic disappeared……read and find out.