24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Romance · Tags:

The Mage's Daughter by Lynn Kurland, 376 pages, read by Kira, on 02/21/2013

Mage's Daughter

The adventures of Morgan and Miach continue as they search for the source of the evil  that is flooding the land and then for the means to defeat this evil.  Miach enters the Weger’s tower where Morgan has fled in order to avoid any magic (the tower is a magic sink).  Miach attempts to convince Morgan to join him in the outer world.  Then  they journey to Torr Dorrain to meet with her elven grandparents who thought her dead.  Afterwards Miach attempts to sneak off to take care of nasty evil by himself, sparing others the vile danger.  Morgan hates being left behind, and eventually turns the tables on Miach,  by sneaking off herself to close the well of Gair.  Finally, Miach and Morgan pledge to Not sneak off but to involve their partner.

I really like the value given to libraries in this series.  Almost every castle/fortress has a library, that has access to valuable information, in the form of history or spells, etc.  When Miach bests the evil mage Droch at a challenge he claims his reward as 1 hour free reign in the library.  Another time the 2 sneak over the walls of a fortress, not to steal some jewels or a magic sword, nay, but to gain access to the LIBRARY!swords crossed

What a wonderful book! This book has Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech and tells you what he meant. I love how the speech is broken down and translated for today’s young readers. The translation let’s you know what King was saying and what was going on at the time of the speech. Wonderful introduction to the civil rights movement.

24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags:

The Underdogs by Mike Lupica , 280 pages, read by Angie, on 02/20/2013

Will lives for football; he is a football star. Unfortunately his town, Forbes, PA, is running out of money and decides they can’t fund the football team this year. Forbes has seen better days; the Forbes Flyers shoe factory has gone out of business and taken all the jobs with it. People are moving away and the town is slowly dying. Will writes to New Balance and asks them to sponsor the team; and of course they do. Now he just has to get a team together. He convinces his dad, former football player sidelined for a knee injury, to coach the team. Unfortunately, he only has 10 players. He recruits new girl Hannah and bullied by his father Toby to join. All Will wants is a chance to beat the Castle Rock team in the championship.

I have read this book twice now and there is still a lot of football in this book. This book is all about football; I know nothing about football nor do I really want to. So all the passages describing plays and the games went right over my head. I am sure for people who follow football this was a fantastic portion of the book. Thankfully it is easy to skim the football parts and still know what is going on. I enjoyed this book even with the football. It was a little predictable: Will is a football genius, New Balance actually funds the team and the CEO comes to the championship, they silence Toby’s bullying dad by making him assistant coach, the whole town comes out to support them, etc. All things you would expect; there were very few surprises in this book. However, I am not sure kids will care. This is a quick read with lots of sports action. The characters are likable and you really do root for the team even though you know they are going to win.

24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry, 469 pages, read by Angie, on 02/22/2013

Benny, Nix, Chong and Lilah are still trekking East on their quest to find the jet. They are still really from the loss of Tom at Gameland. They rescue a child from a zombie hord and meet Riot and the Reapers. Riot is trying to lead a group to Sanctuary when they were attacked by the Reapers. The Reapers, led by Saint John and Mother Rose, are trying to finish what the zombie plague began and end humanity. Our group gets separated and danger finds each of them. In addition to the Reapers, they also discover the remnants of humanity. There is hope for them if only they can find Sanctuary.

These books are about so much more than zombies. It is about humanity and what the human race is capable of, both good and evil. I am glad we find out more about what is going on outside of the mountain communities in this book. We learn that there is a form of civilization left who is working on saving what is left of humanity. Whereas some of the previous books were about evil and despair this one is ends with hope (amid all the evil and despair). I can’t wait for the fourth and final book in this series.

24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Book of the Night by Pearl North, 301 pages, read by Angie, on 02/22/2013

The Book of the Night is the final book in Pearl North’s trilogy. In this book the people of Libyrinth learns the true history of their world and how and why it was created. The Book of the Night has always been a legendary book in this world of books. When Haly finds the book it rocks the very foundation of their world. On the other side of the world Queen Thela has the Lion’s Bloom, the pen that can rewrite reality. Po is trying to keep her from using it, but eventually her ambition will get the better of her.

I love books about books and this world is a book lover’s dream. I would love to visit the library where every book in the world is available. I really enjoy this world and its characters. I think this is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. We see how all the characters end up and find out what Libyrinth really is. I enjoy that this world is populated by a good mix of people: men and women of all stations of life and representing all populations. In this world everyone is represented equally even if they do not have an equal station in society. This series is definitely worth the read.

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

Aurora by Julie Bertagna, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 02/23/2013

Aurora is the final book in Julie Bertagna’s trilogy of a water destroyed world. It has been many years since the events in Zenith. Mara and her group are settled in the mountains of the north. Fox and Pandora are setting up rebellion in New Mungo and throughout the other skycities. Lily, Fox and Mara’s daughter, finds out about her missing father and sets off to find him.

This is an enjoyable finale to this series. It finishes up the stories of all our main characters and brings them back together. However, it feels a little disjointed as if the stories are not connected. I am also not a fan of the ending. There is so much set up in the reunion of the characters and then Bertagna leaves us hanging with no reunion scene. I do enjoy the world of these novels though. It is a not-improbable future where the oceans have risen and flooded the world. The remnants of humanity are scattered across the world in boat cities and the highest ground and in skycities created after the world ended.

23. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Joyce

Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman, 122 pages, read by Joyce, on 02/09/2013

This story of a homeless, nameless girl’s plight to be well fed, warm, and content with her place in life is set in the 14th century in England.  She becomes the apprentice of the local midwife, Jane.  As she toils to earn her keep, she learns the part-doctor, part-magic profession of midwifery.  The author’s descriptive telling of sometimes shocking adventures opens the reader’s mind to a culture far removed from present day.  I can definitely understand why this bravely written book that makes you rejoice with each success the child has and also feel sorry for her suffering is a Newberry Award winner.

21. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Kim B, NonFiction · Tags:

Until the Final Hour by Traudl Junge, 245 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/18/2013

traudl truldTraudlJungeA firsthand account of life with Hitler from 1942 until his death in the Berlin bunker in 1945, by a young woman who was his last secretary.

20. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Melody H, NonFiction

Stories from Jonestown by Leigh Fondakowski, 350 pages, read by Melody, on 02/19/2013

Nine hundred and nineteen members of the People’s Temple died on November 18, 1978 in Jonestown. Guyana.  Hundreds of members survived.  Some people were still in California waiting to come to Jonestown, some were running the offices in the port city of Kaituma receiving supplies and new arrivals, some escaped through the jungle, and one elderly woman slept as the murder squad passed over her, thinking she was already dead.   Thousands of more people lost their children, parents, sisters, brothers, and spouses to Jonestown.  Stories from Jonestown is about the survivors.  Leigh Fondakowski, who wrote the critically acclaimed play and movie The Laramie Project about the murder of Matt Shepard, conducted three years of interviews preparing for a play about Jonestown.  The experiences that she and her collaborators collected from people are recounted in their own words and voices.  This book is not National Enquirer sensationalism of Jim Jones with his orgies and drug use, of dead bodies littering the jungle, of poisoned kool-aid, and brainwashed cultism.  Stories from Jonestown is about well intentioned people reeling from the Vietnam war, the assignations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr, and the seeming breakdown of American justice and ideals. Jim Jones and the People’s Temple promised racial and social equality, a new society where black and white, wealthy and poor, old and young would care for each another and worship, eat, and live together as one.  These are the stories of parents watching the footage on the television and praying their child was not there, of members who know that had they been there, they too would have obeyed the order to drink, a man who left his child behind as he escaped.  These are stories of regret and anguish, of accountability and shame, of people who remember Jim Jones as a monster, or a fallen saint, or their father.  These are stories of how Jonestown has never left them, in dreams and griefs and night horrors.  This is the story of how a promised social utopia spiraled into torture, paranoia, suicide, and murder.  These are stories that must be heard.

20. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Kim B

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore, 785 pages, read by Kim B, on 02/20/2013

stalinStalin the court of the Red Tsar BookFifty years after his death, Stalin remains a figure of powerful and dark fascination. The almost unfathomable scale of his crimes–as many as 20 million Soviets died in his purges and infamous Gulag–has given him the lasting distinction as a personification of evil in the twentieth century. But though the facts of Stalin’s reign are well known, this remarkable biography reveals a Stalin we have never seen before as it illuminates the vast foundation–human, psychological and physical–that supported and encouraged him, the men and women who did his bidding, lived in fear of him and, more often than not, were betrayed by him. In a seamless meshing of exhaustive research, brilliant synthesis and narrative élan, Simon Sebag Montefiore chronicles the life and lives of Stalin’s court from the time of his acclamation as “leader” in 1929, five years after Lenin’s death, until his own death in 1953 at the age of seventy-three. Through the lens of personality–Stalin’s as well as those of his most notorious henchmen, Molotov, Beria and Yezhov among them–the author sheds new light on the oligarchy that attempted to create a new world by exterminating the old. He gives us the details of their quotidian and monstrous lives: Stalin’s favorites in music, movies, literature (Hemmingway,The Forsyte Saga and The Last of the Mohicans were at the top of his list), food and history (he took Ivan the Terrible as his role model and swore by Lenin’s dictum, “A revolution without firing squads is meaningless”). We see him among his courtiers, his informal but deadly game of power played out at dinners and parties at Black Sea villas and in the apartments of the Kremlin. We see the debauchery, paranoia and cravenness that ruled the lives of Stalin’s inner court, and we see how the dictator played them one against the other in order to hone the awful efficiency of his killing machine. With stunning attention to detail, Montefiore documents the crimes, small and large, of all the members of Stalin’s court. And he traces the intricate and shifting web of their relationships as the relative warmth of Stalin’s rule in the early 1930s gives way to the Great Terror of the late 1930s, the upheaval of World War II (there has never been as acute an account of Stalin’s meeting at Yalta with Churchill and Roosevelt) and the horrific postwar years when he terrorized his closest associates as unrelentingly as he did the rest of his country. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar gives an unprecedented understanding of Stalin’s dictatorship, and, as well, a Stalin as human and complicated as he is brutal. It is a galvanizing portrait: razor-sharp, sensitive and unforgiving.

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

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, 320 pages, read by Nikki, on 02/18/2013

51oXHlgl80L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_Chloe Mills is working an internship at Ryan Media, almost finished with her MBA. Her one problem is her boss Bennet Ryan. He’s rude, arrogant, inconsiderate and beautiful. But Chloe deals with him really well. She doesn’t take any of his crap and when he does give it to her she gives it right back. So after working for him for 9 months and he comes on to her in one of the conference rooms, she’s completely confused, aroused and shocked. She has no idea that Bennet has been harboring his feelings of being completely attracted to her this whole time. She finds it hard to be around him after that without jumping him where ever they are.

I was a little disappointed with this book. The sex seemed so angry, which isn’t always bad, but I would say about 90% of the sex was angry. I mean if having sex with someone makes you angry why keep doing it? Or at what point do you stop being so angry and start enjoying it? So weird. Both of them are weird and I didn’t really understand either one of them.

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

Fate Interrupted by Kaitlyn Cross, 230 pages, read by Nikki, on 02/17/2013

41i-FAZPXnL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Evy has just moved to Milwaukee with her sister Brooke her husband Ben to open a dessert lounge. There she meets Dean Jacobs, a successful lawyer and ladies man. Evy and Dean have a rough first few meetings but eventually give in to each others attraction. They begin a relationship that is blossoming into love for both of them. Until Dean gets a visit from his last one night stand, stating she’s pregnant. The girls father is mayor is making Dean and his friends life hell if he doesn’t agree to marry his daughter.

This book is VERY similar to The Perfect Game. Though in the Perfect Game you at least are giving the common decency to know what happens in the end. Not with this book! NO! The author thought it would be totally cool to leave you completely hanging with no freaking clue what’s going to happen next and won’t even give you an official release date for the next book so you don’t have to sit here wondering what in the hell is going on! Sheesh!

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

Beneath This Man by Jodi Malpas, 523 pages, read by Nikki, on 02/14/2013

51E4FpUrQqL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big,TopRight,35,-73_OU01_SS500_Ava has finally got the strength to leave Jesse. She’s left him drunk in his luxury apartment and hasn’t spoken to him for 5 days. She is trying to move on from Jesse but having a hard time doing it. Her friends finally convince her to go to Jesse’s apartment so they can check on her, since she’s the only one with the elevator code to his apartment. Once they get inside they find Jesse has drank himself into a coma. She stays to take care of Jesse and they eventually get back together, but not without a LOT of bumps in the road.

If you read my last post of the first book in this series then you’re probably wondering why in the hell I read the second one. Well I don’t know…actually I do know, because the sex scenes in the first book were so incredibly amazing that I had to see what they were like in the second book, and when the third book comes out, I’ll read that one for the sex scenes too. Because I sure as hell am not reading it because I like the two main characters. Jesse is a control freak to the extreme! And Ava is like a scared little puppy who won’t stand up for herself. I swear if these were real people I would smack the s**t out of these people! I mean really, where is the appeal in this relationship besides the sex? They’re so completely dysfunctional it makes me dizzy.

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

This Man by Jodi Malpas, 448 pages, read by Nikki, on 02/11/2013

41pAMFKDXbL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big,TopRight,35,-73_OU01_SS500_Ava O’Shea is an up and coming interior designer in London. She does interior design spaces that are mostly upscale modern designs. But she has been personally requested to do a design at The Manor. The Manor is all old country upscale designs so she’s not sure she’s the right person, but she goes to consult anyway. When she gets there, she meets the owner Jesse Ward. She was expecting an older gentleman, but what she got was a younger, very attractive Jesse Ward. Jesse shows her around the Manor and what rooms she will be designing. Feeling very awkward and uncomfortable around this man, she quickly leaves planning on never returning. But Jesse is not willing to give up on her and forces her to admit her attraction to him.

If you’re into a book where the main character male stalks the main character female, and you like erotic romance then this is the book for you! I mean, the dude Damien, straight up stalks Ava, tells her what she can and can’t do, tells her what she can and can’t wear, tells her who she can and can’t work for. It’s just absurd! Ridiculous! Their relationship reminded me of my most dysfunctional abusive relationship I’ve been in. And let me tell you! I’ve been in some insanely detrimental relationships, and those almost looked better than this one. It was truly disgusting. BUT, the sex in the book was soooo HOT! I mean, wow! I really only finished this book for the sex scenes…they were worth it.

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

Release Me by J. Kenner, 354 pages, read by Nikki, on 02/07/2013

51bSUAkByML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Nikki Fairchild has just graduated college and moved to L.A. to be an assistant at a technology firm. 4 days into her move and new job she meets Damien Stark and they are instantly attracted to eachother. Damien is a former tennis player who is now a successful entrepreneur. He pursues Nikki relentlessly, but is unwilling to open up to her about his past. Nikki is determined to not let Damien interfere with her plans for her future and her career but is finding it hard to resist Damien.

This book is very similar to the Bared to You series. Though I did enjoy this one, it wasn’t as good the Crossfire Series or the Fifty Shades Series. However, I did enjoy the fact that the main character had a rather awesome name. I mean how could you go wrong with the name Nikki? You can’t. Anywho, Damien is hot and rich and has a hard time admitting he is falling in love with Nikki, the young, hot new woman in his life who is some what capable of resisting his unresistable attractiveness. What can I say? It’s my kind of book.

20. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Classics, Fiction, Horror · Tags:

Alice in Zombieland by Nickolas Cook, Lewis Carroll, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 02/19/2013

Alice meets zombies in this fun mashup. This book follows the Alice in Wonderland story pretty well it just adds zombies to the mix. In fact, Alice herself becomes a zombie after falling down the rat hole and starts craving meat. While the book isn’t stellar it is a fun read. I really enjoyed how the author integrated zombies into every little bit of the Alice story.

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

The Perfect Game by J. Sterling, 398 pages, read by Nikki, on 02/05/2013

51DszNAf0mL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-68,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Cassie Andrews is a junior in college who is working towards her photography degree. She goes out with her roommate one night and meets Jack Carter. A well known ladies man on campus and star baseball player. After much pursuing on Jacks part, he finally gets Cassie to admit she has feelings for them and they begin a relationship. Jack is eventually recruited into a minor league baseball team, and Cassie and Jack have to work their way thru a long distance relationship and many trust issue. Unfortunately, those trust issues only worsen when Jack cheats on Cassie and gets another woman pregnant.

The Perfect Game was rather exhausting. The back and forth before they finally got together and then the bombshell after what happens when Jack finds out he got another woman pregnant. It was not what I was expecting. I’m a happy ending kind of person so that really pissed me off. But I continued on and am happy I finished it. I’m also happy I didn’t damage my iPad while reading this book.

20. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines, 300 pages, read by Jessica, on 02/19/2013

To want what you’re not supposed to have… She is only nineteen. She is his new stepfather’s daughter. She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother. But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no. Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that… Blaire just may have fallen too far.

19. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Romance · Tags:

With every Breath. by Lynn Kurland., 386 pages, read by Kira, on 02/19/2013

with-every-breath-lynn-kurland-paperback-cover-art leeds castle When Laird Cameron in the 1300’s rides to the witch’s hut and opens the door (to request the witch’s aid), he not only opens the physical door, but also a time portal door, to the current 21st century, in the process dragging Sunny back through the centuries to medieval times.

There is a little bit more romance in this book than there was in the Nine Kingdoms series – more hot kisses, and more stupidity (lovers not recognizing each other).  Parts of the ending seemed contrived – particularly the identity of the main antagonist.  Still, I stayed up late lynnheaderavatar15to finish reading this book.

19. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Star of the Morning. by Lynn Kurland., 324 pages, read by Kira, on 02/18/2013

star of the morningI am really enjoying Kurland’s books.  Star of the Morning is the first full length novel in the Nine Kingdoms series.  Orphan Morgan has been raised by mercenary bandits, and then left at an education-rich orphanage when her courses start, finishing her education by becoming a warrior extraordinaire.  She hates magic and magicians alike; unfortunately, for her, it appears she has magical abilities, and will be the only person able to wield the Sword of Angesan needed to save the large Kingdom of Neroche from evil.  The king of Neroche and his brother Miach, Archmage disguise themselves as commoners to seek their hero, someone to wield the sword of Angesan against the approaching evil.  The story alternates between Morgan and Miach narrating their respective viewpoints of the tale. Kurlands writing sparkles with subtle humor, for example, when Morgan tells Nine-KingdomsMiach, he aught to obtain a sword so he can defend himself, he replies “Oh, but I might cut myself” playing the innocent reminiscent of the effete landowner Zorro.

I cannot wait to read the rest in the series.  Be forewarned, Kurlands’ other two series time-travelling romances, though interesting, don’t appear to be as well crafted as her Fantasy series of the Nine Kingdoms.