27. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Teen Books

From Ashes by Molly McAdams, 416 pages, read by Nikki, on 12/21/2012

Cassidy and her best friend Tyler decide they are going to leave California to stay with Tyler’s cousin Gage in Texas while Tyler attends college. One week before Cassidy turns 18 Tyler sneaks in her room, packs her things and takes her away from her abusive home to Texas with him. There Cassidy meets Gage, Tylers cousin. Cassidy is instantly taken by Gage, but Tyler keeps telling her Gage doesn’t want her there.

Gage is excited his cousin is coming to live with him and go to college with him. When Tyler asks him if he can bring is friend Cassidy, he doesn’t mind. Once Gage meets Cassidy the first day, he thinks she’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen and desperately wants her to be his. Only Tyler keeps telling Gage that Cassidy and him are dating and she’s off limits.

For what seems like forever, Gage and Cassidy down play their affections for eachother until they finally realize the truth, and see that Tyler has been lying to both of them.

Ugh! This book was just as frustrating as Thoughtless. I don’t know why I keep reading these frustrating books, but I do! And I love them, and I can’t stop reading them, no matter how frustrated I get. It’s definitely a love hate relationship with books like these. But more love than hate I suppose.

27. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, 381 pages, read by Nikki, on 12/26/2012

Sky is a 17 year old girl who grew up sheltered…very sheltered. No TV, no internet, no phone and no public schools. Sky eventually talks her adopted mother into letting her attend public school her senior year. One day after school Sky runs into Dean Holder. An 18 year old boy who terrifies and captivates her all at the same time. She tries to distance herself from him, but soon realizes she’s fallen for him hard.

Sky starts to learn more things about Holder, and soon finds out he isn’t who she thinks he is. And then all the secrets come out and her world is turned upside down.

This book was intense! I cried a lot, laughed a lot and ALL of the characters in this book will stick with me forever. It had twists and turns I never saw coming. Some I did, but the ones I didn’t, were shocking! I absolutely loved this book! I’ll probably reread this book at least 3 more times…that’s how much I enjoyed it!

24. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Tracy

Rod the Autobiography by Rod Stewart, 364 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/24/2012

I’m not a big Rod Stewart fan, Maggie May was a big hit overplayed in my day, but when he was on a talk show recently promoting this book I was curious. I really enjoyed his casual and honest journey through his career. In the early days it was about hair, clothes, drinking, cars and women. I was surprised to learn about his model railroad hobby but not about his football obsession. He admits his voice is very frog like but when he released his solo albums they sold really well. All rumors and gossip are discussed and the truth is revealed. Lots of pictures and a discography is included. With the internet full of music I was able to listen to his early songs while reading about them.

23. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction

When she woke by Hillary Jordan, 344 pages, read by Angie, on 12/22/2012

Hannah Payne wakes up red. Not angry or sunburned red but a deep red that colors her skin. She has been convicted of murder and chromed. Her crime was having an abortion, killing an unborn child. In Hannah’s world, our future, criminals are not incarcerated and allowed to live off the state. They are chromed different colors for the type of crimes they commit. Yellows are short-term misdemeanors, Blues are child molesters and Reds are murderers. In this world the line between church and state is no more. The religious right has taken over. And Hannah’s lover, the man she will do anything to protect including having an abortion and being chromed is the Secretary of Faith Aiden Dale. Aiden is the spiritual leader of millions and a married man, but Hannah loves him and won’t betray him even when it adds years to her sentence.

The life of a chrome is not an easy one. They are sent out into the world with no protection and usually with no family. Hannah’s family hasn’t completely abandoned her but nearly. Her mother won’t speak to her and her dad tries to help. Her sister is under the thumb of a controlling husband and doesn’t dare help Hannah. Hannah of course won’t turn to Aiden for help. But Hannah is not without support. She is taken in by the Novembrists, a group dedicated to getting chromes out of the country and dechromed in Canada.

Hannah starts this journey as an innocent with her faith in tact. As she continues her faith is rocked and broken as is her innocence. She learns to see the world in a truer light and realizes she can’t depend on anyone except herself. She is no longer the innocent sheep following the shepherd and believing without question. She starts to question the world and her place in it. And ultimately she decides she is important.

I found that I couldn’t put this book down. I was so invested in Hannah’s story and where her journey would end up. Her world is a scary one but not an implausible one. It isn’t hard to imagine a world where the religious right has taken over. I find that my favorite dystopian novels are those that are believable, that you can see happening in our future. It makes them scarier and more real. I would definitely recommend this book.

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie

The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright, 228 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/22/2012

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale

A community of mice and a cheese-loving cat form an unlikely alliance at London’s Cheshire Cheese, an inn where Charles Dickens finds inspiration and Queen Victoria makes an unexpected appearance.

A very whimsical story, with the mice and cat inspiring the stories of Charles Dickens, but in this the animals only talk to each other and not the humans around them.  It was cute but I thought it dragged on a bit for me.

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie

Barn Boot Blues by Catherine Friend, 142 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/17/2012

Barn Boot Blues

When her parents swap urban life in Minneapolis for rural life on a farm 100 miles away, twelve-year-old Taylor feels as if she is living on another planet.

Another girl on a farm book, but I enjoyed this as much as the other.  It’s difficult transition as a child to move, and probably more difficult when you aren’t sure you will ever fit in or remember to take your barn boots off before getting on the school bus!  A cute story of perseverance and pluckiness that will appeal to girls.

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer, 250 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/15/2012

Close to Famous

Twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother escape from her mother’s abusive boyfriend and end up in the small town of Culpepper, West Virginia, where they use their strengths and challenge themselves to build a new life, with the help of the friends they make there.

Foster is a very confident young lady when it comes to her abilities to bake cupcakes, but not always so sure about the rest of her life or the world, as a result of her family shattering just a bit when her father dies in combat.  She makes her way into the lives of the people in the town they settle in, although at first, they think it will be temporary.  A great book to recommend to girls, which I already have and it’s a hit with them!

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie, Poetry, Teen Books

Hidden by Helen Frost, 147 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/13/2012

Hidden

When fourteen-year-olds Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra’s father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.

This book asks the question I’m sure some people think, what would happen if a child victim ran into someone who may have helped her.  And the person who helped wonders what would have happened if she hadn’t?  Both girls go through a process of denial, dislike, then a final revelation that as children, neither was in charge of what ultimately happened.  A quick read, intense and I enjoyed the different formats the author uses to distinguish the voice of each character throughout the book.

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie

Will at the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Laurie Calkhoven, 230 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/11/2012

Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 (Boys of Wartime)

In 1863, twelve-year-old Will, who longs to be a drummer in the Union army, is stuck in his sleepy hometown of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, but when the Union and Confederate armies meet right there in his town, he and his family are caught up in the fight. Includes historical notes, glossary, and a timeline of events.

I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated and I can see how it would appeal to boys immensely.  The author seems to have really done her research for the time period and the town, as she uses real townspeople and places like the church and stores as cement for her story.  Very authentic and I found myself really losing myself in the story.  Very good book.

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie

The Underdogs by Mike Lupica, 280 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/08/2012

The Underdogs

Small but fast twelve-year-old Will Tyler, an avid football player in the down-and-out town of Forbes, Pennsylvania, takes matters into his own hands to try and finance the city’s football team, giving the whole community hope in the process.

Another sports book that boys are sure to enjoy, Mike Lupica does put a little bit of a twist in this, but it still ends with the underdogs winning in the end. I guess this book can give hope to those boys who want to be able to play sports but don’t have the funding, but I found it a little unrealistic.  Like I stated though, boys will enjoy this book.

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie

Flutter by Erin E. Moulton, 200 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/05/2012

Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and an Incredible Journey

Nine-and-a-half-year-old Maple and her older sister, Dawn, must work together to face treacherous terrain, wild animals, and poachers as they trek through Vermont’s Green Mountains seeking a miracle for their prematurely-born sister.

The utter belief of these 2 sisters, that they have to accomplish their mission if their baby sister is to live, is endearing.  It shows the love of siblings in a different way than I have ever read.  A must-have for my library!

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell, 211 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/02/2012

Ten Miles Past Normal

Because living with “modern-hippy” parents on a goat farm means fourteen-year-old Janie Gorman cannot have a normal high school life, she tries joining Jam Band, making friends with Monster, and spending time with elderly former civil rights workers.

I think that the character Janie learned 2 lessons during the course of this book, one is be careful what you wish for and the other is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Janie thinks living on a farm would be fabulous, as a child, but as a teenager, it’s not what she hoped for. This is a book I could definitely recommend to my older readers, a good book and a good debut YA book.

 

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

The Enemy by Lee Child, 464 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/21/2012

Another Jack Reacher book by Lee Child but this one goes back to when he was still an MP in the Army.  We meet his brother and mother and find out how he got to be a loner. It’s New Years and a two star general is found dead in a motel with his briefcase missing. The contents could be the clue to why he died. The general’s wife and another soldier dies and Jack is wondering if they are all connected. The timing is suspicious since Jack was transferred for no reason to this base in North Carolina. Another thriller by Lee Child.

 

 

 

 

21. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt, Louise Yates (Illustrator), 240 pages, read by Angie, on 12/19/2012

Fredle is a pantry mouse. All he knows is the pantry and the kitchen where they scavenge for food. One day he and his cousin Axle find a tasty treat and gorge themselves on the chocolate and cream. Little do they know that chocolate is bad for mice and they get sick. A sick mouse is not a useful mouse and his family sends him out of the pantry. Missus discovers him in the kitchen and throws him outside. Outside he discovers a whole new world and new experiences. He meets the field mice who help him find the best places to scavenge food. He becomes friends with the dog Sadie. And he is kidnapped by the Rowdy Boys, a gang of raccoons. He discovers that the world is much bigger than the pantry, but he really just wants to find a way home. Once he gets home though he finds that he has changed and no longer fits in with the pantry mice.

I think this is a good tale about experiencing the world beyond your home and realizing that your perceptions are not always accurate. The pantry mice are very insular and afraid of anything they do not know. Once Fredle has all these experiences and comes to know more than the average he no longer fits in with their small world. His life is much bigger than they can image or than they want to image. I enjoyed the message of this story and I think it is a good one for kids.

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Thrall by Natasha Trethewey, 84 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/16/2012

This is the follow-up volume of poetry to Trethewey’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize–winning Native Guard and it clearly shows why she is the new Poet Laurette of the United States.

She beautifully blends her personal family history into the history of America, especially the deep south. She is an interracial child, when a black woman and white man marrying was not only dangerous but illegal in her parents home state. She uses her poetry to show the struggles of not only southern America but of many forgotten names and faces in history. Natasha Trethewey uses her knowledge of history and the faces in colonial paintings as inspiration. She meditates on captivity, knowledge, and inheritance throughout this work. As she reflects on a series of estrangements from her father she comes to an understand how they are part of the ongoing history of race in America.

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, 321 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/14/2012

A unique look at life and what is really important: family, love, loyalty and hope and all told through the eyes of a dog. But not any ordinary dog. Enzo knows that he is different from other dogs. He has learned about life and this strange human world through television and from the words of his master, Denny Swift, a race car driver.

Funny, but at times heart-wrenching this is a beautifully written story of humanity and compassion as only Enzo can share it. Keep the Kleenex nearby.

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani , 475 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/11/2012

Adriana Trigiani describes the haunting beauty of the Italian Alps so well you can smell the crisp mountain air and hear the ringing of the chapel bells. Here in these humble mountain towns prior to WWI we meet Enza, a practical oldest daughter, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy. They briefly meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. Due to forces beyond their control both teens end up traveling to America separately. Ciro, as his only chance of escaping a vindictive priest and Enza to save her family’s future. But neither know the other has left for America.

Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken when they again are briefly reunited. But Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza is determined to forge a life of her own, begins a career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House at the time of the great tenor, Enrico Caruso.

Will they ever find love and success? Is true love with each other or someone else and what does it mean to succeed? All these questions are answered in this historical epic that sweeps you from the Italian mountain peaks, to bustling New York City to the mountains of Minnesota in the early 1900s.

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Easy by Tammara Webber, 336 pages, read by Nikki, on 12/19/2012

Two weeks after Jacqueline’s boyfriend Kennedy breaks up with her, her friend Erin convinces her to go to the Halloween Frat party. While leaving alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by one of the fraternity brothers and a complete stranger saves her.

Once Jacqueline returns the her dorm room safely and continues on in her everyday life she realizes the stranger who saved her is no stranger at all.

First of all, I loved this book! Like 5 stars, tell all your friends to read it, then buy the book for them because it’s that good and you want them to read it too, good. While the book as romance, suspense and drama, all things I love, it also has valid points about sexual assaults against women. Plus, Jacqueline is a smartass, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, History, Leslie, NonFiction

How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg, 184 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/30/2012

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost.

This was a most interesting and enjoyable book to read, and I am not one to read nonfiction, for the most part.  It held my interest and will hold the interest of probably most kids.  It was factual and informational and just gory enough for those wanting gore.  The entries were short, usually one or two pages, with larger print, which appeals to a lot of kids.  The accompanying facts were also very interesting to read.  I will be recommending this one.

20. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach, 262 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/26/2012

Missing on Superstition Mountain (Missing on Superstition Mountain, #1)

When brothers Simon, Henry, and Jack move with their parents to Arizona, they are irresistably drawn to explore the aptly named Superstition Mountain, in spite of warnings that it is not safe.

There’s nothing like a mystery to be solved with a little danger thrown in to appeal to older kids looking for a good book to read.  I really liked this story, there were no threads left undone and it all pulled together in the end with a satisfactory ending.  Boys and girls will both enjoy reading this story.