27. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Teen Books

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller , 267 pages, read by Angie, on 05/27/2013

Maddie is your typical high school cheerleader; she is dating a football player, she is very much on trend, she loves the most popular music and her group of friends are all into the same things. But Maddie has a secret…she is really a big geek in disguise. She loves scifi and comics; she even keeps a comic journal. When the last issue of her favorite comic doesn’t come in the mail like it is supposed to Maddie has to venture outside her popular realm into the realm of the nerd. That’s right…she has to go to the local comic book shop to actually buy the book in person. Of course she goes in disguise and of course the guy working the counter is someone who goes to her school and recognizes her. Logan Scott is everything her boyfriend is not. He loves comics, he DJs at the local radio station, he doesn’t do sports, he can’t dance, and he is a big nerd. Maddie is soon falling for Logan and delving deeper and deeper into nerdiness. But Maddie is not ready to give up her popular persona. She lies about Logan and what she is doing to her parents, her best friend and her boyfriend. Maddie has to come out of the geek closet if she wants to be happy with Logan and with herself.

This is a book about self-discovery, learning who you are and accepting it. Maddie has a long way to go in the book, but she makes it there eventually. I really enjoyed the interactions between Maddie and Logan and any scene involving Logan’s friend Dan. However, I didn’t always like Maddie herself. Maybe it was because I just couldn’t understand her; I know way too many people who are into manga, anime, comics, scifi, etc. and I don’t really consider all of them nerds. It seems like such a mainstream thing now. Maddie is also pretty selfish and self-absorbed throughout most of the book, which isn’t a lot of fun to read. However, I think the main thing that brought the book down for me was how heavy-handed the message was. At some points the author pretty much bashes you over the head with her “lesson” about being true to who you are. There is also the ridiculous ending where she plugs small businesses and how essential they are to a community. While I completely agree with her “message” my head hurt after being hit with it so many times.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley.com.

25. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles # 4) by Kevin Hearne, 352 pages, read by Tammy, on 05/05/2013

Book 4 of the Iron Druid series with lots of Oberon! Atticus and Granuile fake their deaths so he can escape from the angry Norse gods and have 12 undisturbed years to train Granuile to be a druid. But first he has to payback Coyote, the Navajo trickster god, for his help in faking Atticus’ death and Coyote always has a way to trick you into doing more than you realized you were signing up for. And Leif shows up to complicate matters even more.tricked

24. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, 377 pages, read by Kira, on 05/23/2013

percy-jackson-and-the-lightning-thief-1-19-10     Fast paced, enjoyed the concept of the 12 camp cabins each one for a different member of the Greek pantheon.  I would like to see the camp.  Alexandra_Daddario_in_Percy_Jackson_and_the_Olympians__The_Lightning_Thief_Wallpaper_2_1280It lightning_thief_hd_wallpaper_thumbwas really obvious which god’s son he was, but enjoyable to watch him and his mates discover his heritage. I really liked the book, until somewhere right towards the end, after Percy battles Ares, somehow things didn’t really fit.  I thought for sure I’d want to start right in on the next book in the series, but afpercy-jackson-and-the-olympians-the-lightning-thief-920160ter I finished I changed my mind.  Maybe it was the author’s attempt at bridging to the next book, lightning_thief_ukthat percywas weak.

24. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Skin Deep by J.M. Stone, 286 pages, read by Jessica, on 05/22/2013

Oh, who was she kidding? Emma knew that going to the tattoo shop with her best friend, Allie, would result in getting badgered until she ended up with some sort of needle piercing her flesh in one way or another. What she didn’t plan on was ending up face-first on the floor of the shop with a busted lip. Or doing it in front of the hottest guy she’d seen since…well, ever.

Mortified, Emma never thought she’d ever step foot back in Skin Deep again. But fate, with a little help from Emma’s flighty best friend and a chance encounter with a fudge bar, steps in. Now Emma’s torn between taking a chance on getting her heart broken by the enigmatic, gorgeous Lucas, and playing it safe with good ol’ trusty B.O.B.

Lucas lets Emma know that he gets what he wants, and what he wants is her. When Emma gives in and quits pushing him away, she’s surprised at how quickly the walls around her heart crumble. She’s even more surprised that her unconventional, zany family just endears her even more to him.

But no one knows there’s someone that wants her more, and they’ll stop at nothing to get her.

23. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 419 pages, read by Tammy, on 05/20/2013

Gillian Flynn’s wildly popular novel does pull the reader right into the psychological mystery of the disappearance of Amy Dunne on her 5th wedding anniversary. Did Amy runaway? Did her husband, Nick, kill her? Did one of her stalkers kidnap or kill her? As the inspiration of a wildly successful children series, Amazing Amy, Amy has had a number of stalkers during childhood and adulthood or has she? Switching narrators between Amy’s diary and Nick’s thoughts and conversations with the police, his in-laws and his twin sister, Margo, the reader is led on a series of events that slowly unwind into a tangled, twisted web. Nick is definitely not husband of the year material either. Pushed by Amy’s doting parents and her best friend, that Nick didn’t even know Amy had, the police follow the winding trail of clues back to Nick. But is he the real killer? And if he didn’t kill her, where is Amy?
gone girl
Though the writing is quick and clever and the mystery definitely sustains your interest some of the author’s details are out of whack. There really is a town of Carthage, Missouri, but it is on the opposite side of the state from St. Louis and it is not a river town. The Mississippi River features prominently in the story as do St. Louis and Hannibal and their proximity to “Carthage” is important in the plot. The Ozarks are described as flat land, while the region is well known for it’s hills and valleys. If you enjoy details of the setting of a story and know this and also know that the author is from Missouri, which I did, these repeated inconsistencies are grating. Also, the authors description of people who live in the Midwest is far from complimentary. Most of these descriptions do come from Amy, who loves her previous life in New York City and did not want to move to Missouri, but even general descriptions aren’t kind. As a well-educated and life-long resident of Missouri, who does not consider herself in any way a “hick” this grew very tiresome too.

For me the conclusion was also very unsatisfying. I didn’t guess what was going to happen, which is usually a plus for me. The more mysteries I read the harder it is for an author to surprise me, but what does happen was so upsetting to me that it totally ruined the surprise factor for me.

23. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright, 124 pages, read by Tammy, on 05/19/2013

Thimble SummerNewbery Winner 1939

A few hours after nine-year-old Garnet Linden finds a silver thimble in the dried-up riverbed, on her family’s Wisconsin farm, the rains come and end the long drought on the farm. The rains bring safety for the crops and the livestock and money for Garnet’s father. Garnet’s good luck continues throughout the summer and she’s convinced its because of her lucky thimble. Though not a long book, it is easy for the reader to picture Garnet’s family farm, their small town and the close-knit farming community. Garnet clearly loves the farm, but her older brother is determined to never be a farmer as he watches their father struggle to pay the bills. He realizes the famiy income is based on the weather and things beyond his control no matter how hard dad works. But through the eyes of a stranger and Garnet he also grows to appreciate the benefits of farm life.

22. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Drama, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Eva moves the furniture by Margot Livesey, 240 pages, read by Kira, on 05/21/2013

jacket-eva-moves-the-furniture If you liked the book “A Certain Slant of LIght” you will like Eva Moves the Furniture.  It has the same eevavocative feel to me, slightly haunting.

Growing up,Eva has 2 companions a girl her age, and a grown woman, eva moves furnthat no one else can see.  Her Mom died right after she is born, and she experiences a certain degree of loneliness, and is less than successful forming friendships at school.  The companions meddle in her life, sometimes to Eva’s delight, sometimes to her disappointment.

It is Never clear whether the ghosts are real, or a figment of Eva’s imagination, because the ghosts don’t always behave well.  It could be that Eva blames her bad behavior on these ghosts, which are nothing more than a figment of her imagination.  But I lean to the other possibility, that they really are present.  But you can see where either narrative makes sense.

22. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Kira, NonFiction

The Complete Home Organizer: A Guide to Functional Storage Space for All the Rooms in Your Home by Maxine Ordesky , 192 pages, read by Kira, on 05/20/2013

This book takes you room by room and shows you how to add shelves, storage and the like to various rooms to keep them organized.

Like many books of this nature, they still don’t solve my problems with having enough place to put things away.  The book had colorful pictures showing examples of the ideas.  The examples looked very nice, and very expensive.  The rooms displayed seemed to have a lot of space to start off with.  Ordesky so often suggested building custom made storage, well of course, she profits from building these high end organizing units.  She devotes a couple pages to safes, and storing your valuables. complete-home-organizer-maxine-ordesky-paperback-cover-art closetsInteresting, but nothing earthshattering.

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Jessica, Romance

A Terrible Love by Marata Eros, 272 pages, read by Jessica, on 05/20/2013

ter loveJess Mackey is living a meticulously fabricated lie of necessity. She’s left the secret tragedy of her past behind along with who she was and is forging ahead with a clean slate. But Jess soon discovers that passion can’t be left behind—neither her own, nor that of the one man who sees who she really is…and whose unexpected presence may breach the peaceful life Jess has painstakingly created for herself.

Devin Castile didn’t expect to meet a young woman who may be the missing puzzle piece to his existence…and who is also the victim of a heinous crime. Devin convinces himself that he can remain emotionally distant even while indulging his physical desire for her. But when Jess’s lies begin to crumble in the face of their undeniable attraction and the truth is revealed, one of them might pay with their life.

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Humor, Informational Book, NonFiction

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, 334 pages, read by Angie, on 05/21/2013

I was first introduced to Mary Roach with Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversand I quickly fell in love. Roach has the ability to make nonfiction fun and informative. In Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Roach tackles life in space. This book is chock full of everything you ever wanted to know about the history of space exploration and a bunch of stuff you never thought about and will never forget. Roach spends a big portion of the book dealing with human digestion and how to deal with it in space. Our bodies don’t work quiet the same in zero gravity as they do on Earth. So eating and everything that comes after have to be dealt with in special ways. Roach details everything from different sized condom-type urine collection bags, to fecal popcorning, to space toilets, to recycling waste into food (highly unpalatable). There are also the problems of how to eat in space and how your clothes break down after going unwashed for weeks. I was not aware that underwear would disintegrate after a couple weeks of constant wear/definitely not something I have had to experience! Roach doesn’t just focus on the absurd and the gross, she is truly fascinated by space travel and has a deep appreciation for those who work in the industry.

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta, 516 pages, read by Angie, on 05/21/2013

I have been eagerly anticipating this book for the last year (ever since I finished Froi of the Exiles). Melina Marchetta is one of my favorite authors and she has created a magical series with the Lumatere Chronicles. In this finale, Quintana and Froi have been separated. Quintana is pregnant and hiding out in the Monts’ Valley with Phaedra and Froi is recovering from his wounds with Arujo. Froi is frantic to find Quintana and keep her and their little king safe. He scours the entire Charyn countryside trying to find her. Back in Lumatere, Finnickin and Isaboe are expecting their second child and trying not to get caught up in the Charyn chaos.

I really wish I would have reread atleast Froi before tackling Quintana since it has been so long between them. Marchetta is not an author who recaps all her previous books, which I like, but there is a lot going on and a lot of people and events to remember. This book is all about the connections between the characters, both politically and familially. Can Isaboe let go of her hatred of Charyn to help Quintana? Can the people of Charyn unite and form a more stable, hospitable country? Will Quintana and Froi ever be together? Will the Little King bring peace?

I am sad to see the end of this series, but I can’t wait to read what Marchetta comes up with next. I am also going to reread the entire trilogy sometime when I have a free minute! These characters are so wonderfully written and the world so detailed that it is really hard to leave them behind.

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Janet · Tags:

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann, 390 pages, read by Janet, on 05/20/2013

The Unwanteds     In the “perfect” society of Quill, those who don’t follow the exact rules or meet the highest qualifications are weeded out when they reach thirteen.  They are taken to the outer wall of the kingdom, through a gate always kept locked from the inside, and handed to some enormous Eliminators to be thrown into the Boiling Lake of Oil.  Alex and the others knew they were doomed, but were very surprised to be welcomed by a giant flying tortoise and Mr.Today.  They actually had escaped from a land of black and white with stiff rules to a colorful place where people were enjoyed and taught many magic and creative activities that would eventually save their lives.  Alex missed his twin, Aaron, who was a Wanted in Quill, but visited him in dreams, hoping to someday bring him here to Artime.  There are many surprises and lots of exciting experiences – good booki!

21. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, 312 pages, read by Sarah, on 05/21/2013

going vint.

After a break-up with her cheating boyfriend, Mallory swears off of all modern technology until she can complete a list.  Her list is borrowed from her Grandma’s junior year in high school and includes such things as make a homecoming dress and find a steady.  Mallory learns a lot about herself and her family during her two week quest to go vintage and live like they did in the ’60’s.  She thinks that being a teenager was so much easier during that time, but she learns that adolescence is hard regardless of the time period.

I enjoyed the bantering between Mallory and her younger sister.  They had a great relationship and were able to tell each other what they really thought without fear of losing each other.  Also, Oliver’s unique personality added charm and comedic relief.  I enjoyed Going Vintage.

20. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction

Hook, Loop 'n' Lock: Create Fun and Easy Locker Hooked Projects by Theresa Pulido, 128 pages, read by Kira, on 05/18/2013

hook loop  hooking loopshooknloopNot too many books out there on Locker Hooking.  One of the instructors at Camp Shannondale in Southern Missouri teaches this craft, and I’ve been intrigued.  I really love the modern look achieved with brighter colors, and fancy fabric, like recycled sari silk.

This book contained both excellent instructions for beginners, as well as “patterns” for cool projects.   I’ve seen a lot of  the photos/projects in her book on the Pinterest website.

20. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim

A Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe by Marci Shore, 370 pages, read by Kim, on 05/20/2013

Shore’s book was interesting but a little dry at times. She talks about historical figures that are little heard of  so it really didn’t peak my interest a whole lot.

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

Playing Patience by Tabatha Vargo, 425 pages, read by Nikki, on 05/13/2013

51He+kmsowL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Zeke lives in a trailer on the crappy side of town. He plays guitar in a band, drinks, does drugs, parties and is constantly fighting. Patience goes to private school, plays soccer and is the Governors daughter. Though it seems the these two have nothing in common, they do. They both hide a secret from everyone they know. A dark secret that has both of them broken inside. So when Zeke and Patience meet for the first time, they can see right through eacother. They both know the other is hiding something serious. Eventually their one chance meeting turns into several and they begin a relationship and both find out the horror of their secrets that they’re living with.

Wow! This was a really difficult book to read. In the summary of the book you have no idea what exactly you’re getting yourself in to. In the second chapter I was completely shocked and wasn’t sure if I could even continue reading the book. It was an extremely emotional read, and really makes you think about what is going on in people’s lives, or makes you realize that these things really do happen. It was a very sad story, but one with a happy ending. One of my favorite books so far.

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

Knight and Stay by Kitty French, 210 pages, read by Nikki, on 05/09/2013

51d5m0zwzNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-52,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Sophie Black’s husband has just found out she’s been cheating on him with her new boss Lucien Knight. What he doesn’t know is that Sophie knows that her husband has been cheating on her for the past year and a half. So now Sophie has decided to cut ties with both men and try to get her life figured out. Eventually though she finds herself returning as Luciens PA, while trying to keep her personal life separate from him. But once Sophies husband returns to their house, she has to decide to stay with her husband, or try to make a relationship work with Lucien, who never wanted to settle down with one woman.

Well I couldn’t be happier that this series is over. This book was slightly better than the first, because it had more of a story to it. Though, it was the typical, bad boy who refuses to settle down, then meets the good girl who convinces him that he’s lovable. Just wish there was more drama, or action to it.

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

Knight and Play by Kitty French, 211 pages, read by Nikki, on 05/08/2013

51R3qOSeHjL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-52,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Sophie Black is a married woman who is bored with her home and work life. Sophies husband is always gone for business and although she suspects him of cheating she chooses to ignore her instinct and trust her husband. So she decides to do something out of character for herself, she applies for a PA position with Knight Inc. Knight Inc. is owned and operated by Lucien Knight. A native to Norway, who has moved to London and built a wealthy company that builds adult clubs and sells adult “toys”. Once Sophie has the job, Lucien takes it upon himself to help Sophie not only come out of her shell, but also to use him as a way to get back at her cheating husband. Though neither one of them expects to fall for eachother, and when Sophie’s husband finds out, it all falls apart.

For one, I wanted to read this book because the authors name is Kitty French, and that’s pretty amazing if you ask me. I figure, if you’ve got a name that amazing, surely your book is going to be just as great. Not so in this case. The book seemed mediocre and didn’t have much of a story line at all. The whole porn industry thing, totally threw me off the book too. Just wasn’t my scene I suppose. Not to mention this book leaves you in a crappy cliffhanger, where you have no choice but to buy the next book!

19. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby, 255 pages, read by Angie, on 05/19/2013

Sarah is the odd man out on a field trip to the Everglades. She is a scholarship student at her preppy school and doesn’t fit in with the other kids. So it is no surprise when she pretends to be sick to get out of an outing. Instead she accepts the invitation of Andy, camp owners son, to take an airboat ride. The ride is exhilarating and scary, but even more scary is finding the boat sunk after their picnic lunch. Seems Andy forgot to put the plug back in after washing the boat. Now he and Sarah are stuck 10 miles from camp and no one knows where they are. They have to trek through the Everglades and evade alligators, wild boars, snakes and tons of bugs all with no food or water.

This was a very good, realistic survival story. Andy and Sarah are world’s apart. He is a redneck hick and she is a city girl scared of everything in the wild. She starts off pretty whiny with a chip on her shoulder. We don’t realize until the end what the chip is and I wasn’t sure why it was saved that long; it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. However, throughout their days in the swamp both Andy and Sarah learn how to survive and how to trust each other. Very entertaining and engaging read.

2013-14 Missouri Truman Award nominee.

18. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction · Tags:

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, 266 pages, read by Angie, on 05/18/2013

I am so glad narrative nonfiction is becoming the “in” thing because it is so much more interesting to read than boring old regular nonfiction! This book is as compelling as any novel I have read. Sheinkin did an amazing job researching the events and the people that led up to the creation of the bomb. I can’t imagine all the FBI files he had to read to get some of this stuff. In Bomb, he takes a look at how the Americans started the race to beat the Germans to the atomic bomb and how the Russians stole the plans. We get first-hand accounts of the events and what the people involved thought at the time. It was truly fascinating and hard to put down.

This is a 2013 Newbery Honor Book, the 2013 Sibert Medal Winner, and a 2012 National Book Award finalist.