27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kira, Memoirs

Monologues by Eve Ensler, read by Kira, on 02/15/2013

vmMonologues on various themes examining women’s relationships to their bodies and their sexual selves.  These themes include women’s discomfort with their sexuality and bodies, rape, child birth, power dynamics in a relationship, genital mutilation.  Though the topics are mature and graphic, they are not presented in a salacious way –  beautifully written, moving and very thought provoking.  Eve Ensler interviewed hundreds of women on their feelings, their thoughts, their experience of their bodies and their sexuality and wrote these monologues.  These monologues create a space for women to feel comfortable talking openly about their sexuality.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, read by Brian, on 02/25/2013

Charlie is your typical shy teenager.  Entering his Freshman year of High School is difficult for Charlie, like it is for most Freshman.  Charlie trying to find ways to fit in, as two Seniors take him under their wing.  The new friends introduce Charlie to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, drugs, sex and the true meaning of friendship.  In the end, Charlie must deal with his inner demons.

wallflower

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes , read by Kira, on 02/27/2013

I reknitterYarnally liked this book!  Parkes (of the very useful site http://knittersreview.com/) provides detailed information about the various qualities and classifications of yarn available on the market.  I appreciated the fact that she examined so many different varieties of yarn sources (eg vicuna) including hybrid sourced yarn, starting off with a family-tree” of fiber types. She discusses different methods of plying, ways to prepare fiber, as well as the various sources of fiber (animals, plants, manufactured).

I learned a lot.  For example I learned  about woolen-spun versus worsted-spun yarn – most yarn on the market is woolen spun, where they leave the short fibers in, creating a loftier and warmer yarn and therefore warmer material.  The worsted-spun yarn takes only the longer staples of wool, and creates a more tightly plied – and therefore less warm – yarn, that really shows off stitch patterns, and its probably more expensive since they’re using more refined material, going that extra step.

She also provided many side by side comparisons of a given wool in one form versus the same wool but in another form (eg worsted spun versus woolen spun).   She provides patterns specific to each yarn type that she examines.  Though I liked that she provided brand name examples of the various yarns she discussed, I really wish her lists had been longer with more diversity.  For example, for the worsted spun yarn, all her examples were 100% Cotton, cotton has no elasticity and hurts my hands, so nside by side compone of the examples were helpful to me.

Overall though a really great book, I’m so glad we have it in our collection!  I think I need to read all of her other books.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Helen, Historical Fiction

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier, read by Helen, on 02/14/2013

 Forced to leave England and struggling with illness in the wake of a family tragedy, Quaker Honor Bright is forced to rely on strangers in the harsh landscape of 1850 Ohio and is compelled to join the Underground Railroad network to help runaway slaves escape to freedom.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Charade by Nyrae Dawn, read by Nikki, on 02/26/2013

51yIZTeIueL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-61,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Cheyenne has just started her freshman year in college. A few days before her first day of classes she catches her boyfriend of two years cheating on her. She strives to portray that she has a perfect life and this is not helping her. She decides she needs a fake relationship to keep up her image of having a perfect life and showing people she can get over her ex. She spots Colt in a coffee shop and notices that he and her ex don’t get along. She follows him outside to proposition him for the fake relationship. She offers to pay him if he’ll follow along.

Colt is a junior in college who is only in college because his dying mother desperately wants him to earn a degree. Colt reluctantly continues college to satisfy his mother. Though he has turned to drug dealing to help pay for his mothers costs. He is in desperate need of money so when Cheyenne propositions him, at first he thinks she’s crazy but then decides to take up her offer.

Typically a book about a woman paying a man to pretend he’s her boyfriend would disgust me to no end. But this actually turned out to be a good book. Both main characters had serious mommy issues, but they both dealt with the issues more easily when they talked to each other. The relationship starts out rocky, obviously, but then grows into a friendship that then grows into a loving relationship.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick, read by Angie, on 02/26/2013

Homer P. Figg is a consummate liar. He will tell tales on just about anything. This is the story of how he and his brother Harold won the Battle of Gettysburg. Homer and Harold are orphans being raised by their terrible uncle Squint Leach. Leach sells Harold to the Union Army even though he is too young to fight. Homer is having none of that and decides he is going to rescue his brother no matter what. What follows is a ridiculous adventure from Maine to Gettysburg and back. Homer helps runaway slaves, joins a traveling medicine show, is robbed by a couple of professional thieves, steals a hot air balloon, and survives the Battle of Gettysburg.

Homer P. Figg is a wonderful character and this book was really fun to read. He reminds me of Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer or some other young rascal. He is a liar and he really can’t help telling tales; it is such a part of who he is that telling the truth is actually difficult. I really appreciate all the historical details Philbrick manages to get into the story. They seem pretty accurate and fit the story well. I think this is a wonderful historical fiction story that kids will enjoy.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman , read by Angie, on 02/26/2013

Our heroes from Unwind are back. Connor and Risa are running the Graveyard, trying to save as many AWOL Unwinds as possible and deal with the day to day hassles of hundreds of kids. Lev, the tithe who didn’t clap, is helping a resistance organization save other tithes. We also meet new kids in this second installment of Shusterman’s trilogy. Starkey is an AWOL Unwind with a chip on his shoulder who has designs on leadership and power. Miracolina is a tithe who truly believes she should be unwound and definitely doesn’t want to be rescued by Lev. Cam is a rewind, a kid made from hundreds of unwinded parts. He is a composite being who just came to be.

I loved Unwind; it was one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I still think about it years after I read it. Shusterman has a twisted mind and I love to see where it goes. In the first book we learned about unwinds and why they exist. In this book we get a more thorough history of the process and a glimpse at the real reasons behind the Unwind Agreement. We also learn more about who is controlling things and who the resistance is. This second book is all about setting up the last book in the series. It is all about introducing us to the players and putting them where they need to go. That is not to say that it isn’t a fabulous read because it is. There is something so compelling about this world and its people that you really want to know more. I can’t wait until the next book.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

If you Stay by Courtney Cole, read by Nikki, on 02/25/2013

417XF32olrL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Pax Tate is a rich bad boy who has a lot of demons he never dealt with. Instead he uses drugs to block out bad memories and to fill his void of being empty and sad. Pax’s mother died when he was 7 and his father never fully got over his wifes death. After his mom died Pax’s father moved him away from everything he knew which only made things worse.

Mila Hill is an artist who loves Lake Michigan. One night while she was out taking photos of the lake she happened upon Pax, who was overdosing on coke in his car. Mila saves Pax by giving him mouth to mouth and calling 911. After that night she goes to the hospital to check on Pax. There she sees how attractive he is and he’s amazed that this beautiful woman would stop and help him even though she didn’t know him. He instantly wants to quit doing drugs and be the man Mila deserves to have.

This book started out with the overdose. It’s difficult for me to read a book involving drugs, but I do enjoy seeing somebody’s point of view in why they do drugs and what it does for them. I know the author wrote this book with a friend of hers in mind who had a drug problem and eventually got help. Though I think depending on another person and wanting to get clean for that person is just another way of avoiding the issue. I mean what if they broke up? Would he go back to using? Just thinking that you’re the reason someone got clean could be very overwhelming. I would feel like I’m constantly walking on thin ice with that person. The author did make it clear that you have to get clean because you want to, not for someone else, which I thought was important. But the fact that him overdosing and temporarily dying wasn’t the main reason he wanted to get clean. Also, there’s a point in the story where you find out how Pax’s mother dies. That was unimaginable. Though I did also read that the author got that part from a news article she read that stuck with her for years. Basically what I’m saying is that I cried a lot with this book…which makes it kind of hard to read when you have water drowning your eyes.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Janet · Tags:

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, read by Janet, on 02/23/2013

Invisible ManThis is the story of a young black man who, as a child, started living his life in humility as his dying grandfather stressed was necessary, but was a rebel inside.  He won a scholarship to the state college for Negroes and enjoyed his first three years there.  However, he was tricked into going to Harlem for a job the next summer and found out after many adventures that it was to get him out of the school.  There he learned a different life and had to protect himself from almost everyone.  His rebel inside, though, caused him to become a spokesman for those with so many problems.  He learned the importance of diversity as a major issue of life and how it helped him be an invisible man in a large world.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Leave me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn, read by Nikki, on 02/24/2013

Leave me BreathlessMacy Rogers had a one night fling with Seth Warren a few months ago in the back seat of her car. She hasn’t seen him since. Until Valentines Day night her friends force her to go out where they purposely set up Seth to be. Even after those months passed, Macy and Seth are still attracted to eachother and seem to lose themselves in eachother. Macy is all country while Set is all heavy metal and tattoos. They decide to try and be in a relationship not knowing if they’ll survive when their world are so completely different.

This is an opposites attract kind of book. Of course I love a good tatted bad boy, so I was pretty into this book. Macy is born and raised in Texas, and she is a strong woman who doesn’t put up with anything. At first I thought she was a bit of a prude but then realized why she was the way she was. Both characters have issues that the other is helping them cope with. It’s a good love story with steamy good sex scenes.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Torn by K.A. Robinson, read by Nikki, on 02/22/2013

TornChloe and her two best friends, Amber and Logan, have moved off to West Virgina to start college together. On Chloes first day she sits next to Drake and is instantly attracted to him. Drake is a known “bad boy” on campus and is a singer in a band. Once Logan finds out that Chloe is interested in Drake he confesses his love for her and she is torn between the two men.

I’m not gonna lie. I struggled a bit to get through this book. Though it was nice to read a book that I could put down and not constantly think about and not be satisfied until I picked it back up again. I hate when a woman is portrayed as weak in a book, and she needs other people to hold her up or take care of her. It’s absolutely ridiculous in my mind, and I’m a little tired of reading it. The story was a typical love triangle, lots of heartbreak and lost trust. Though I did like how Chloe wasn’t the typical pretty girl. She was more a rocker chic who didn’t change herself to satisfy other people. The author also added in a few bands that I like to listen to, so there was that. But basically this book was an exact replica of Beautiful Disaster. Literally the same thing, with different character names. The author even references Beautiful Disaster in the first part of the book. Almost as to say, yes I read that book and loved it so I wrote my own version which you are reading now. Still, if I wanted to read Beautiful Disaster again I would have.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Beauty from Pain by Georgia Cates, read by Nikki, on 02/21/2013

Beauty from PainLaurelynn Prescott has arrived in Australia with her best friend where they will be staying for three months. Her first night out they go to a bar where she makes her first run in with Jack McLachlan. Jack is a wealthy man who makes a living off of making wine in Australia. He purposely sets up short (3-4 weeks) relationships with women where they do not know his true identity. He likes it like this so that there are no strings attached and no preconceived notions of a long term committed relationship. When he proposes this idea to Laurelyn he decides to go for 3 months. The longest he’s gone in a while. Eventually Laurelyn accepts his proposal, fully aware that this will all end in 3 months when she returns to the States.

First off, let me just say that the main character Laurelyn is probably my sister soul. The author portrays her to be this hilarious, sarcastic, down to earth woman who is perfectly capable of saying no and sticking up for herself. She doesn’t take any crap from people and I like that. She was a refreshment from the other books I’ve been reading. The story line was good, but the main character is what made me love this book so much. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud this much while reading.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young, read by Nikki, on 02/20/2013

On Dublin StreetJocelyn Butler has been living in Scotland the past 4 years. After her parents, little sister and best friend died back in the states she decided to move to Scotland to forget her tragic past. Jocelyn doesn’t let anybody get close to her for fear that she would have to go through the grief of losing somebody she cares about again. Then she moves into an apartment with a new roommate who she slowly begins to care about. But what she didn’t expect is to fall for her new roommates brother, Braden Carmichael. Braden is a well off business man, who is used to getting what he wants. And he wants Jocelyn.

This book was ok for me. It was a typical romance book, but only I didn’t seem to like the main character Jocelyn much at all. Her constant battle to keep people from getting close to her was annoying. She seemed selfish in acting like she didn’t care for people who obviously cared for her. It took the entire book for her to finally admit she cared for a friend who they thought was dying. Her relationship with her last friend also, was disturbing and a complete put off for me for the character. Maybe it’s me though. Distancing yourself from other people to protect yourself seems utterly selfish and dumb. I’d rather go through the grief of losing someone I cared about, rather than be alone my whole life.

26. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction (chick lit) · Tags:

Jim & Louella's Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy by Bertice Berry, read by Eric, on 02/25/2013

When Jim and Louella’s longtime marriage finally loses its romantic zing, Louella resorts to consulting her dead ancestors for advice. It does the trick, but what’s more, both Louella and Jim find they are able to hear the thoughts of others, and have a knack for helping them through their own troubles.

Far outside my usual fare, this often-hilarious story is like steamy chicken soup for the elderly sexual soul. Through Louella, author Bertice Berry delivers life lessons and sexual re-ignition with a Southern sensibility that is equally blunt and caring. It’s hard not to like this couple, even when they make the neighbors blush. Recommended for those with an open mind and a humorous bent.

25. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, History, Melody, NonFiction

Lilterary Rouges by Andrew Shaffer, read by Melody, on 02/23/2013

Literary Rogues is a very entertaining read about the bad boys and a few bad girls of literature.  Nothing new that we didn’t learn in Lit 101; Bryon was a sex fiend, Coleridge was an opium fiend, and suicide is a very real hazard of the writing profession.  While perhaps not groundbreaking , Shaffer, who writes for Maxim and The Huffington Post, has a breezy fast paced writing style very well suited to stories of vice and excess with a healthy dose of genius and madness thrown in.  Good fun light read.

25. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody, NonFiction, Travel · Tags:

Here, There, Elsewhere by William Least Heat-Moon, read by Melody, on 02/22/2013

Here, There, Elsewhere is a charming collection of short stories from William Least Heat-Moon who lives just south of Columbia.  Heat-Moon is best known for his travel collection Blue Highways released in 1982 chronicling his journeys through small town America after he lost his job and he and his wife separated.  Heat-Moon has a very lyrical prose form that well suits his subject matter of the beauty and wonder that is found down every road.  I highly recommend Here, There, Elsewhere not just for the local connection but for Heat-Moon’s artistry of words.  Beautiful book.

25. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Melody · Tags:

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann, read by Melody, on 02/19/2013

The Unwanteds is one of this year’s Mark Twain nominees.   It is the story of the land of Quill where every year there is a sorting of thirteen year olds.  Some become Wanted and go on to positions of power and influence, some become Necessaries who do the manual jobs, and some are Unwanted who are purged and sent to their deaths.  In actuality, the Unwanted are taken to a magical land where their talents of creativity and imagination which had doomed them are cultivated and nurtured.  But their world can not remain hidden forever.  I really liked the ideas of this book but found the premise to be much more promising than the execution.  The world building was very spare and the characters not very well developed.  A lot of fluff and very little bones.

25. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Thumped by Megan McCafferty, read by Angie, on 02/24/2013

It has been 8 1/2 months since the events of Bumped. Melody and Harmony are both preggers with twins and eagerly awaiting D4 (Double Double Due Date). Harmony has returned to Goodside with her husband Ram and Melody and Jondoe are shacked up and the most talked about couple in the country. But all is not as it seems and as the due dates get closer secrets are going to come out.

This is such a fun series and this is a fitting ending to it. In this book McCafferty still focuses on the culture of teen sex and surrogacy, but the twins have grown up a bit. They are now less interested in the pop culture obsessed world and more worried about who and what they have become. I think these books are smart, funny and a really interesting comment on our obsession with sex and celebrity.

25. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis (Illustrator), read by Angie, on 02/24/2013

Under Wildwood picks up after the events of Wildwood. Prue is home with her family, Curtis is training to be a Bandit, and all seems fine. But all is not fine. The South Wood is still in turmoil and assassins have been sent after the major players of Wildwood. Prue returns to Wildwood on the run from the Kitsune assassins. She and Curtis must save themselves and figure out how to save Wildwood at the same time. Meanwhile, Curtis’s parents are off on a wild goose chase to find him in Istanbul. They leave his sisters in a home for wayward children (and machine parts) where they are forced to work for a strange man obsessed with the Impassable Wilderness.

This book is definitely the set up for book 3. Everything is leading up to the big confrontation in the next book. This book is all about getting the main characters where they need to be and with the knowledge they need. We meet lots of new and interesting people and we learn a lot about the history of Wildwood. This is a fun series and I can’t wait for the next book.

24. February 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Fiction, Joyce, Romance, Teen Books

Jane by April Lindner, read by Joyce, on 02/17/2013

As a high school student I read Jane Eyre.  Jane, a retelling of that story in a modern day situation intrigued me to its end, although I felt the conclusion of this Jane was more satisfying.  The growing romance between Jane and the rock star Nico kept me reading even though some elements of the plot did not seem believable.  It’s difficult to keep secrets in a present day mansion with intercom, the visiting media crew, journalists, and photographers at every corner.  Jane Eyre captured that secrecy and shame theme in jane longa more believable way.