29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Courtney, on 03/03/2013

Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing in the distant future. The man who paid for her surgeries and brought her back to China is long-dead and Cinder has been living with his wife, Adri, and his daughters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder, being a cyborg, has no rights as a human being and is considered (and treated as) property by Adri. Cinder’s only friends are an android named Iko and the youngest of her “stepsisters”, Peony. One day, Cinder is surprised to find Prince Kai visiting her little mechanic shop to repair one of the royal androids. Cinder does have, after all, the reputation for being one of the best mechanics in the country. Nonetheless, she is completely stupefied that the Prince would even deign talk to her. In the meantime, the city is being faced with an outbreak of a deadly plague. Even the king cannot escape its clutches. After Peony falls ill with the dreaded disease, Adri sells Cinder off to the royal lab for plague research (which no “volunteer” has yet been able to survive). When Cinder fails to contract the disease, it is realized that she may be more valuable than anyone, especially Cinder, thought possible. There are, however, a few more surprises in store for Cinder when the Lunar Queen comes down to earth to attempt a marriage treaty with Prince Kai.
Overall, I enjoyed this adaptation of Cinderella. It was not as direct an adaptation as many I’ve read, but the main characters and plot points all seem to be in place. I did find parts of the world-building either lacking or problematic, which I can only hope will be addressed in the rest of this series. It’s fast-paced and engaging, with some unusual twists. The main reveal, however, is very predictable – I had it figured out within a few chapters and spent the rest of the book testing my theories. Sometimes it’s fun to be correct; sometimes it’s a bit disappointing. In this case, it fell more on the disappointing side since it was simply too easy to guess at the biggest plot point. Still, an entertaining read with plenty to discuss thematically.

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Lisa, Mystery · Tags:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, read by Lisa, on 03/14/2013

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

Death and the Walking Stick by Linda Berry, read by Janet, on 03/28/2013

Death and the Walking StickThis is a delightful tale of a small town police force solving the death of an old woman.  Her regular walking stick was not near the body, but a different one was against the wall – odd placement that provided good clues as the case progressed.  The person telling the story is a female police officer who grew up in the town.  As the three membered police force know everyone in town and their past history, many stories and personalities work together to solve the crime.

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction · Tags:

Breathe by Sarah Crossan, read by Angie, on 03/27/2013

In this future world, the trees are gone and the air as well. People are forced to live in pods in order to survive. All are not equal in the pods. Those in zone 1 have the most privilege and the most air. The privileges and air goes down as you go further into the pods. Quinn is from zone 1; is father is very powerful in Breathe, the corporation that runs the pods and controls the air. His best friend Bea is from zone 3. Her family is poor, but she is smart and ambitious. Quinn and Bea decide to go camping in the Outside. They plan a two day excursion but at the border Alina insinuates herself into their group. Alina is a member of the resistance and needs to get out of the pod fast. Together they set off across the wastelands of the past world with only an oxygen tank between them and suffocation. Alina introduces Bea and Quinn to the resistance, who are trying to replant the trees and wake up the citizens about the corruption of Breathe.

This book was ok. I feel like it really didn’t cover any new ground in the dystopian/post-apocalyptic world. You had the typical corrupt corporation/politicians, resistance fighters, innocent teens, and of course a love triangle. The romance in this book was beyond awkward. Bea is in love with Quinn but he doesn’t know it. He becomes infatuated with Alina after a minute, but she doesn’t care. Alina thought she was in love with this resistance guy Abel, but who knows if that was true. Quinn finally wakes up and realizes he loves Bea but they can’t be together because of the class difference. It was pretty ridiculous. I wish there was more about the resistance and the uprising, but Crossan leaves us hanging. Not a terrible book, but nothing new here.

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Jessica, Romance · Tags:

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams, read by Jessica, on 03/28/2013

Her first year away is turning out to be nearly perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything

Eighteen-year-old Harper has grown up under the thumb of her career marine father. Ready to live life her own way and to experience things she’s only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father’s unit, she’s on her way to college at San Diego State University.

Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family, and emotions. She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with both her new boyfriend, Brandon, and her roommate’s brother, Chase. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both men adore Harper and would do anything for her, including taking a step back if it would mean she’d be happy.

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Lisa, Memoirs, NonFiction · Tags:

The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson, read by Lisa, on 03/27/2013

hw7.plI read this for book club or I would never have chosen it, but that’s one reason I’m in a book club–to make myself read outside of my comfort zone. It was interesting as far as it goes but I had to make myself pick it up in order to finish it because it just wasn’t that compelling.

This is the story of the spiritual journey of G. Willow Wilson, raised by atheist parents, who in her early twenties, decides to convert to Islam. A fact she doesn’t fully admit even to herself until she has traveled to Cairo, Egypt to teach in an English-language school in order to make use of the Arabic she has been studying at Boston University.

Even for a newly converted Sunni Muslim, life in Egypt is difficult. It’s a very dirty, loud, harsh city, under strict government control. (9/11 happens while she is still studying in Boston and the story takes place throughout the early to mid-2000’s).

Thanks to her friend Ben, who left Egypt just before Willow and her roommate Jo arrive, they have a place to live but they don’t eat much beyond olives for the first several weeks because they can’t figure out how and where to shop for food. Help arrives in the form of Omar, a friend of Ben’s who had promised to check up on the two women. He teaches them many important things about living in Egypt.

Although Willow eventually falls in love with Cairo, (as well as Omar, whom she marries), it was difficult for me to understand her love for such a difficult city. From a purely historical point of view, of course it has to be amazing, but to live there day-to-day, as she describes it, is incredibly difficult.

I did enjoy getting glimpses of a very different way of life and society. I also enjoyed the interactions between Willow and the very large extended family she marries into. But in the end, perhaps because the book is the story of her very personal spiritual journey, and I’m a religious skeptic,or perhaps because the story felt somehow shallow and superficial, her story did not resonate with me.

 

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Just One Night Part 2: Exposed by Kyra Davis, read by Nikki, on 03/28/2013

Just One Night Part 2Robert Dade has gone from a stranger that gave Kasie the most pleasure she thought she could ever have one night in Vegas, to her firms biggest client. Has Kasie gives into Roberts seductions, she begins to war with herself on who she is, and whether her modest controlled front will stay up with her family, coworkers and boyfriend. Unfortunately it doesn’t, her fiancee Dave, finds out about her affair. He decides she deserves to be punished for what she’s done. He uses his upper hand at her firm and threatens her job and reputation if she continues her affair. Kasie has to decide what’s best for her, and find a way to keep her job and Robert Dade.

Ugh, I couldn’t be more happy this book is short. This whole warring with her two personalities is really beginning to aggravate me. The whole 136 pages, was some good sex scenes, a lot of whining, submissive, dumb female behaviour, that made me want to reach my hand inside this book and smack Kasie across the face and yell “GET IT TOGETHER WOMAN!!!!”

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Just One Night Part 1: The Stranger by Kyra Davis, read by Nikki, on 03/27/2013

Just One Night Part 1Kasie Fitzgerald is in Vegas with her best friend. Kind of a pre-bachelorette party, pending her soon engagement to her boyfriend Dave, who she’s been dating for 6 years. Her best friend tells her she should sleep with a stranger, just live a little. Step out of her shell she’s been living in. Kasie doesn’t take her seriously, but when a handsome wealthy man sits next to her at the blackjack table, she starts to reconsider. After a night of wild sex, Kasie walks away from Robert Dade, thinking that is the last time she’ll ever see him. Until he shows up at her work 2 days later.

Kasie is living a normal life. She’s graduated from Harvard with a masters in business and has a dream job that her boyfriend helped her get. She’s reserved, quiet, has a schedule she sticks to meticulously. She’s trying to be everything her sister wasn’t. She’s afraid of disappointing her parents, boyfriend and coworkers by acting on her more “wild” side. Once she returned from Vegas, she started to find it hard to return to her reserved self. Honestly, it was really weird after that. She was literally at war with herself. Almost like she has two personalities that she’ warring with, and can’t decide which one to let loose. It’s all a little weird, and even though I can’t decide whether I’m enjoying it or not, I’ll of course buy the second book to find out what happens.

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Wreck Me by J.L. Mac, read by Nikki, on 03/27/2013

Wreck MeJosephine Geroux, has had a difficult life after her parents died in a car accident when she was 9 years old. Since then she has been passed from one foster family to the next until she decides to care for herself at the age of 12. She lives on the streets of Las Vegas, homeless and lost. She eventually gets a job at a small book store and starts to make a life for herself. She lives in a crappy apartment, has a job, a car and doesn’t take crap from anyone. When she meets a stranger that seems oddly familiar and very attractive, she reluctantly decides to become exclusive with him and hope she can find out why he seems so familiar and hope he doesn’t destroy her when she gets to close to him.

Jo Geroux, has had a crappy life, and honestly she doesn’t deal with it well. She is beyond angry on how her life played out after the tragic accident with her parents. She’s mean, distant, and stand offish. But she’s also independent, hard working, and doesn’t let anyone step on her. I really enjoyed her character, until she started her relationship. Then she basically cried every day, and became an emotional wreck. Her transition from independent to dependent was disturbing. Though I did enjoy the book, and of course the sex scenes, I hated how it ended. Yet another cliff hanger, with no second book out yet. I swear this is the last time I’ll read a book that doesn’t have the other books published yet! I hate cliff hangers! It’s annoying to wonder what’s going to happen to fictional characters.

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Teen Books

Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan, read by Nikki, on 03/26/2013

Barely BreathingEmma Thomas has died after a brutal beating and attempted murder by her aunt. Now everyone in Weslyn knows about her secret she desperately tried to keep from everyone. She tried to keep the abuse she endured by her aunt so that her niece and nephew would never have to be without both parents like she had when she was younger. Now that her life is slowly getting back to normal, and the whispering and staring is winding down, Emma has to make a decision about her mother. Her mother who left her with her aunt and uncle 5 years ago, is trying to work her way back into Emma’s life.

I enjoyed seeing Emma evolve in Reason to Breath, in Barely Breathing it’s like she has a harder time struggling to live a normal life than she did surviving an abusive life. She seems to be very self destructive in this book, and has no clue how her actions affect the people around her. It was very frustrating and again the end of this book leaves you hanging just like the first one. I thought for sure this book would end well, but of course it doesn’t. Now to wait for the third and hopefully last book of this series…*sigh*

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Teen Books

Reason to Breath by Rebecca Donovan, read by Nikki, on 03/24/2013

Reason to BreathEmma Thomas is hiding a horrifying secret. She tries to keep to herself at school, and only has one friend, Sarah. Emma, excels in sports and her school work to keep her mind busy and to keep her away from her aunt and uncle’s home as much as possible. When she meets the new kid Evan Mathews, Emma can’t help but be drawn to him. Even though she knows she can’t act on her impulse to be closer to him for fear that her secret will get out and her future she’s worked so hard for will be gone.

I veered off of my erotic romance books road with this one, but I’m glad I did. Emma Thomas has been dealt a crappy life, and she’s dealing with it the best way she knows how. Even though her home life is a true horror film, she doesn’t let that demolish her dreams of attending Stanford when she graduates and pushes herself in her sports and school work. The love story between Emma and Evan is slow at first, but eventually she lets herself enjoy the company of another person. You see Emma step out of her quiet little bubble she’s made for herself and realize that the terror that follows her every step won’t determine every life choice she has. You see how she finally decides to let herself enjoy life a little even though she knows she’ll have consequences to pay for it. What I didn’t like about this book, was the cliffhanger at the end. It was brutal, but I was happy to see the second book had already been released.

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

The Truth (Discworld #25) by Terry Pratchett, read by Tammy, on 03/23/2013

truthThe Truth tells how Anhk-Morpork’s first newspaper got it’s start and how the second son of a wealthy family found his own way while he wrestles with what IS truth and why does it matter. William de Worde is an ethical writer and publisher who stumbles onto a group of dwarves and their new purchase from their hometown, a printing press. His once a month newsletter to the uppercrust soon becomes a daily newspaper angering the engraver’s guild and sparking rival publications including the Inquirer which cares more about selling papers and putting the de Worde’s Times out of business that bothering about the truth. But William has an inside informant about the charges of attempted murder against city leader Vetinari and soon hires a whole staff to run the newspaper including lots of dwarves, a troll, a zombie and my favorite vampire from Discworld, Otto von Chriek a photographer who has to watch how strong a flash he uses or the light evaporates him.

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy, Travel · Tags: , ,

50 Years of Making Memories: Silver Dollar City 1960-2010 by Jan Peterson, read by Tammy, on 03/10/2013

This is mainly a photo collection of the history of theme park, Silver Dollar City and Marvel Cave starting with the cave’s discovery. The photos also feature the theme park’s festivals, craftsman and visitors having fun in the park. It was a fun read for me, since I first went to Silver Dollar City as a sophomore in high school with my aunt and uncle, then when in college Branson was only an hour away so it was a great get-away spot for a day of fun with friends. So, the area holds lots of good memories for me.

 

27. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy

Who Could that be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket , read by Tammy, on 03/07/2013

Book 1 of the new children’s series, All the Wrong Questions, by Lemony Snicket. The main character is a young Lemony Snicket relating his adventures. Instead of heading off to a boarding school Lemony has found himself an apprenticeship with an unusual secret organization. He thinks his first adventure will be assisting a friend of his but instead he is sent to an isolated town separated from everyone else by an inland sea that is now dry. He starts by asking questions that shouldn’t have even been on his mind. Will he think of the right questions in time to find the real answers?

who could that be

27. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Pamela

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea, read by Pamela, on 02/27/2013

Seven fifth-graders relate how their lives are changed by their new teacher Mr. Terupt.mr terrupt

 

Really interesting to see the different perspectives of the same person, and how each child filtered the world based on what they needed.

27. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Pamela, Poetry · Tags:

Hidden by Helen Frost , read by Pamela, on 03/01/2013

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.  A verse novel, with hidden messages contained within the writing.hidden.

Don’t let the cover fool you,this is Not a book about fairies or mermaids, but about straight-up life.  It is a mystery with multiple layers.

27. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kim, Science Fiction · Tags: ,

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston, read by Kim, on 03/26/2013

This was a pretty good little story. Although the ending was predictable, it was different in that the main character, Morgana, cannot speak, so the reader is privy to her thoughts. The middle part of the book is a little drawn out but for the most part it is fast reading.

26. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Christmas Crafts Scandinavian style by Tone Merete Stenkløv and Miriam Nilsen Morken., read by Kira, on 03/10/2013

 

Cmas Crafts Scanda

A very nice collection of Christmas crafts.  I’m Not sure that the projects are all that different from other Christmas craft books.  But the projects look much classier than a lot of others, I couldn’t tell if this was mainly due to the color choice (lots of creams, beige, neutrals) or because of the high quality craftpersonship.  It is inspiring – but I have enough knitting projects at the moment, not to have been tempted to carry out any projects.  cmas crafts 2

 

cmas crafts scanada 3

25. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Pamela

4th of July by James Patterson, read by Pamela, on 02/27/2013

4thofjulyjamespattersonDetective Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club make a courageous return for the fourth adventure.  I like these books, even though they aren’t particularly deep, they are fun.

25. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Romance · Tags:

Spellweaver by Lynn Kurland., read by Kira, on 03/24/2013

Spellweaver-Kurland-Lynn-9780425238639

Sarah and Ruith continue their quest to gather up the parchments containing Gairs evil spells, that are littered across the Nine Kingdoms.  They pay lovely visits to all sorts of folks including the Dwarf king, and Morag the Witch Queen of Anwuallach.  In the process they learn some very interesting facts about Sarah’s true heritage (because every fantasy protagonist is required to be an Orphan!).

I’m Not racing through this trilogy as I had been the earlier as well as the latter trilogies.  Perhaps, this trilogy isn’t as good as the others, or perhaps, they’re getting a little formulaic.  Also the humorous banter between the two protagonists (ie Miach & Morgan) is lacking.

Nonetheless enjoyable.