01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Romance

Fifty Shades of Grey by James, E L, 528 pages, read by Brian, on 10/01/2012

This book has gained so much attention and I’m not sure it should have but no foul, no harm.  Fifty Shades of Grey is the romance story of Anastasia Steele, a college student who studies literature and Christian Grey, a successful businessman, who is witty, charming and very handsome.  Ana, is put on the spot when her roommate falls ill and she has  to interview Mr. Grey for the College newspaper.  Grey is intrigued with her and in a rich guy sort of way stalks Ana until she agrees to date him.  Anastasia is not experienced in the world of sexual encounters and Grey is all too eager to teach.  Eventually, Grey wants Ana to become his Submissive.  Ana is intrigued, frightened and eager to explore her own erotic desires.

The book is not well written, however, many romance novels or many books in general are not well written, yet people love them.  I can see the appeal of the book.  The subject matter is considered taboo and many people may know very little of anything about the Dominant/Submissive relationship.  Being so popular,  allows timid readers a guilt free reason to read the book without worrying about what others may think of them.  Society may say the subject matter is taboo but in real life it is quite common and there is nothing taboo about it.  Overall the book was alright but not great and Mr. Grey is an amateur.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Teen Books

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher , 288 pages, read by Angie, on 09/29/2012

This is such a complex and compelling story. On the surface it is a story about suicide, but really it is a story about how our actions affect others and even the smallest action can have major consequences down the road. I think that is what affected me most…a throw away comment, a rumor, a mean remark can snowball and build on many other comments until the person affected can no longer take it anymore. This book should make everyone who reads it take a look at their actions and realize that those actions may have unexpected consequences.

High school is a cruel time for many of us and Hannah definitely had a harder time than some and maybe not as hard time as others. A lot of people may say that Hannah should have just persevered and waited out high school – things were bound to get better eventually – suicide is just giving up. But Hannah had decided to give up, and I think that is the point of that was made part way through the book. Hannah decided it wasn’t worth fighting any more – she made her choice and no one could really reach her even those that tried.

I really enjoyed the structure of this book. I liked experiencing the tapes with Clay and remembering the instances described in the tapes from his memories. I thought that was a brilliant way to write the book. It gave us a more neutral look at what was a very one-sided Hannah perspective of the tapes. Of course, I also really wanted to know what some of the others’ reactions were when they listened to the tapes – I think that would have been extremely interesting, but a really long and repetitive book. It would also be interesting to know what happens after everyone has heard all the tapes. Does anyone go to the police about the accident or the rape for instance? Two things that should definitely be reported by the teacher at least since he is the last to hear the tapes.

Long review I know, but I really did enjoy this book. It made me think about all the comments I have made in the past and all the times I have looked away when I could have maybe helped someone out. If nothing else I hope that is what people take away from this book.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags: ,

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, 204 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/27/2012

A teen encounters a monster that comes calling in the night at exactly 12:07 am but he is not afraid of the giant, dark monster. He is more afraid of the nightmare he has been having. The Monster comes to tell Conor 3 stories and then to hear Conor’s story of the truth. The truth of his nightmare and what it means. As the monster explains stories are wild things. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd— whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself— Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, 214 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/20/2012

First let me say that this is not like the movie. Some of the characters are the same, but some are the same in name only. Still it was a fun story of how one young viking starts out as the village joke and becomes a hero and becomes known as “the Dragon Whisperer”. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. To become a member of the tribe each young boy must capture a dragon and on Thor’s Day show that he has trained his dragon or face exile from the tribe and their island.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits , 302 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/28/2012

An emotionally gripping story of what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law, and centuries of tradition collide, I Am Forbidden opens a window on a world of the strictest, most insular sect of Hasidic Jews, the Satmar where every action and word is regimented by the law and tradition.

This novel follows the younger generation of one family and how it is torn apart by fierce belief and private longing. The novel opens in 1939 Transylvania, as 5 year old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a young Christian maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young Jewish girl, Mila and helps her reach the home of Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community. In turn, Josef is “rescued” from his “adopted” home and sent to live in America with the rebbe and his new community of Hasidic Jews. Meanwhile, Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live. Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore. The choices Atara, Mila and Josef make as young adults will have consequences for all of them and for generations to come.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

New Mercies by Sandra Dallas, 304 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/30/2012

Another beautiful, touching tale from one of my favorite authors.

Nora Bondurant is surprised to learn she’s inherited an old plantation in Natchez, Mississippi when an aunt that she didn’t know existed dies. She jumps at the chance to leave Colorado for a visit to the south and to learn about her dad’s family. She is running away—from her husband’s death and his secrets. Now she has a place to run too. Natchez, Mississippi, in 1933 is a place suspended in time. The silver and china are still dented and cracked from Yankee invaders. When she arrives she learns that she’s inherited more than a run-down house and two servants, she’s inherited a mystery. Nora’s aunt Amalia Bondurant was killed in a murder/suicide, and the locals aren’t admitting to knowing anything. Nora is reminded of the Bible verse Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Meaning that New Mercies are given to us each day so we can move on from the problems of life and find new love and happiness.

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie (Books of Faerie #2) by Maggie Stiefvater., 353 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/27/2012

Maggie Stiefvater once again creates a setting that you can see, hear and smell for her characters to inhabit. The burning of incense, colors of the surrounding countryside and descriptions of the music students at practice all bring the setting to life.

Ballad is the second title in the Books of Faerie series. Ballad picks up with Dee and James headed off to private school for teens gifted in music. They still haven’t come to terms with what happened over the summer (read the Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception for that story) and though they need each other’s friendship they are awkward around each other. James is also being followed by an attractive female fae that can increase his musical ability but at a price. And why is the school located in an area known for the King of the Dead and other magical creatures? Why is James’roommate hearing voices?

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Graphic Novel, History, Tammy · Tags: , ,

The Hammer and the Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery in America by Dwight Jon Zimmerman, Wayne Vansant , 150 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/15/2012

An illustrated side by side comparisons of the lives of former slave Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln from boyhood through Lincoln’s assassination. The beliefs they shared, what they disagreed on, how each disappointed the other from time to time but both worked towards the mutual goal of abolishing slavery. That was Douglass’ primary goal and while it was also Lincoln’s goal he also believed that as president he literally had a sworn duty to uphold and preserve the country. A concise, beautifully drawn graphic novel that packs lots of information in a few pages

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Graphic Novel, History, Memoirs, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

American Widow by Alissa Torres, 209 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/14/2012

A moving story of one woman’s day to day life after losing her husband in the 9/11 attacks. This graphic novel backs the events of September 11th a personal tragedy rather than just a national tragedy. Gripping and beautifully told but difficult to read at times. But how could any true story accurately depicting that day not move one to tears?

01. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, 432 pages, read by Nikki, on 09/28/2012

Abby Abernathy has just moved away from home to go to college. She is beginning a new life where no one knows her but her best friend America. Soon Abby meets Travis Maddox, who is exactly what she is trying to avoid. Travis is a tattooed ladies man, who spends his nights fighting in secret boxing matches and is constantly moving from one girl to the next with no regrets. Of course Abby resists Travis’s charms, which intrigues Travis. So then it becomes a cat and mouse game between the two both never wanting to reveal how they truly feel.

I did enjoy this book, because mostly I love a good love story. However, this one had a little to much jealousy and controlling issues for me to stomach. I thought the book was written well, but the end seemed to be rushed. There is a second book coming out called Walking Disaster, which I will read because even though the relationship seemed a little out of control I do enjoy watching a train wreck.