23. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Children's Books, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, 270 pages, read by Angie, on 06/20/2013

Some kind of disaster has befallen the world and humanity must be saved. So the Builders create Ember, a city deep underground. They create instructions for the citizens to follow once it is safe to emerge. Unfortunately, the instructions are lost and the people of Ember never know there is a world outside of their small community. The expiration date is coming due on Ember; the power is failing and they are running out of supplies. No one seems that worried however, except Lina and Doon. Lina finds the instructions, unfortunately after her baby sister Poppy has eaten part of them. As Lina and Doon try to decipher the Instructions, they also uncover corruption and greed in Ember. In order to safe everyone they must find a way out of Ember.

I really enjoyed this book and my bookclub kids did as well. I also thought they did a really good job on the movie as well; one of the few times when I actually liked a movie made from a book. Lina and Doon are really interesting characters who are actively pursuing something unlike the majority of the characters in this book who are stagnant and just want to continue with the status quo. I liked the mystery of trying to figure out what exactly the Instructions were saying and I thought the adventurous escape was thrill a minute. However, my favorite part had to be the end where Doon, Lina and Poppy discover a world they have only dreamed of. This book won the Missouri Mark Twain award.

21. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim B

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, 365 pages, read by Kim, on 06/20/2013

This is a sequel to Flagg’s novel Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! Which was utterly hilarous. I love Flagg’s writing and love her characters even more. She does not disappoint with this book. She re-introduces us to her  much-beloved characters from the first book and her humor will make you laugh out loud!

20. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Janet · Tags:

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson, 443 pages, read by Janet, on 06/16/2013

This is a story of a man who was involved in the disrest between North Korea and America.  Jun Do’s mother was a singer and, as all beautiful women in provinces, was shipped to Phongyong.  His father was the Orphan Master, who ran the orphanage where kids were kept until adopted.  Jun Do had to do the unwelcome jobs at Long Tomorrows and was hurt in many ways by his sad father, but was not allowed to be adopted or work in the factories.  When the year of floods came, wiping out many homes, factories, and lives, he became a tunnel-soldier at the age of fourteen, trained in zero light combat.the orphan master's son  When he was twenty-two, he was put on a fishing boat where he was trained in Japanese, some English, and how to listen to military soundings on the radio at night.  He also listened to many other soundings, like the two American girls rowing their way around the world.  He became a professional kidnapper, fell in love with the actress Sun Moon, and took on the role of the leader Kim Jung II to save her.  This story tells the horrible tale of life during those treacherous war years.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith, 239 pages, read by Tracy, on 06/15/2013

Four passengers on a train from Edinburgh to London find themselves talking about love and other train rides. What makes these strangers open up about their past experiences. If you are a train enthusiast you might enjoy this book and take it along on your next train ride.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

Long Live the King by Fay Weldon, 344 pages, read by Tracy, on 06/15/2013

This is Fay Weldon’s second book in this trilogy. It’s a fun series about the clueless rich families in 1900 England. Queen Victoria has died and her son Bertie is next in line. Invitations have been sent to the Coronation. Lord Robert and Lady Isobel have overcome their money problems when their son marries Minnie the daughter of an American millionaire. Isobel fears her husband Robert is having an affair but she is going through the change so she maybe overreacting. Bertie is have health issues with his overdoing everything, mostly rich food. Long Live the King!

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy

The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle, 355 pages, read by Tracy, on 06/17/2013

This book was really hard to finish. I was hoping things would get better for Candido and Americo the young Mexican couple who come to America for a better life. The other couple in this story are Delaney and Kyra, Americans who live in an upscale gated community in Topanga Canyon California. They have everything they could need and more but aren’t happy. All the Mexican couple want is an apartment and steady work to raise the baby Americo is having. Kyra is a realtor who hates the illegals hanging around looking for work. It brings property values down. Delaney is torn between wanting to live in an ungated neighborhood but also is angry with the illegals for trespassing. It’s a problem that gets everyone angry and violent. Sad story.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Tracy

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley , 432 pages, read by Tracy, on 06/11/2013

Archaeologist Verity Grey is working at a site in Scotland when she hears what sounds like horses galloping outside her window. Since there aren’t any horses in the area she isn’t surprised when she feels that someone is watching her at the dig site. It’s an ancient Roman campsite that has it’s own Sentinel ghost protecting it. There are other strange things happening that involve paranormal activity and romance. I enjoyed the Scottish slang used by the locals and Verity has to buy a Scottish book to help her translate.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Tracy · Tags:

Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince by Nancy Atherton, 246 pages, read by Tracy, on 06/04/2013

This is the newest of the Aunt Dimity cozy mystery series. Lori Shepherd takes her twin sons and a friend, Bree Prym, to Skeaping Manor. It’s a museum full of curiosities. Lori meets a young girl named Daisy who tells some interesting stories. When Daisy and her mother disappear suddenly Lori is determined to find out why. As usual Aunt Dimity, who is a ghost, helps Lori solve the mystery. I never get tired of reading these books, they are a nice break from the usual murder mysteries.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Death in the Vines by M.L. Longworth, 304 pages, read by Tracy, on 06/01/2013

I’ve been reading a lot of books set in France with vineyards and wine as the theme. Maybe I should visit one day. This is the third in the Verlaque and Bonnet series. Three women have been murdered and there is a wine thief on the loose. As usual there is a lot of wine and food sampled and an interesting part about the Citroen automobile. A nice summer read.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman, 80 pages, read by Angie, on 06/17/2013

Helena and her family are circus performers, but all she really wants is REAL LIFE. One day she tells her mom this in an argument and the suddenly her mom falls ill. She has to have an operation on her brain to remove the tumors. On the night of the operation Helena falls asleep and dreams she is in another world. In this world, she and her companion Valentine must save the world from darkness and wake the white queen. This is a bizarre little book though wonderfully drawn. The illustrations really enhance the text in telling the story. Because the story takes place in a dream world, you can’t always trust what is going on. Like all dreams the story takes bizarre turns and doesn’t always make sense. But it is interesting and memorable and entertaining.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, Informational Book, NonFiction

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, 319 pages, read by Angie, on 06/16/2013

Did you know that congestion is basically an erection in your nose? I didn’t, but it is making me think of colds in a whole new way. Mary Roach tackles sex in all its glory in Bonk. Like Stiff and Packing for Mars (the other two Roach books I have read so far), she focuses on the absurd, the lurid, and the hilarity of the subject. She delves into the history of sex research from Kinsey to Masters and Johnson to modern day researchers. Through Roach’s research we also learn all about penile implants, non-sexual orgasms, who has the best sex* and more. The book was fun to listen to if slightly embarrassing when caught at a light while driving. Other drivers tend to take notice when the words masturbation and clitoris are blaring out of your speakers. This is my third Mary Roach book and I highly recommend them.

*In case you are wondering…it is gay and lesbian couples who have the best sex. They seem to take their time and enjoy the ride whereas heterosexual couples race to the finish line and don’t always take the time for their partners.

18. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction

A No-Sneeze Pet by Diana G Gallagher, Adriana Puglisi (Illustrations), 88 pages, read by Angie, on 06/14/2013

Kyle and Emma have made it their mission to find a pet for their friend Emma. She can’t have just any pet because her mom is allergic. So they need a pet that will not make her sneeze. Kyle’s mom, a veterinarian, makes up a list of non-allergic pets and they got through it trying to find the perfect one for Emma. She doesn’t like snakes or birds, but finds a hamster to be perfect. Who knew a hamster was hypo-allergenic?? The story is cute and perfect for young, new readers. It has a good message and great pictures.

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

16. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Children's Books, Elizabeth, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, 312 pages, read by Elizabeth, on 06/10/2013

I recently had the great pleasure to listen to the audiobook version of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. This audiobook won the 2009 Audie Award for Best Audiobook. The story itself won a plethora of awards including the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 2009 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel and even more award nominations. This whimsical audiobook, narrated by the author, is sure to delight older children, young adults and adults.
I had read the print version of The Graveyard Book before. It tells the story of Nobody Owens, who was left in the care of the ghosts and other creatures of a very old graveyard after his parents’ murder. The murderer spends years searching for Nobody, who is protected by his new family of ghosts, vampires and other graveyard creatures. Nobody eventually faces down his parents’ murderer. This is a story of family, friendship and, ultimately, growing up.
The audiobook, narrated by Gaiman himself, is delightful. Gaiman’s performance is (predictably) perfect. I highly recommend The Graveyard Book in any format, but the audiobook is superb.

13. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Pamela

A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans, 279 pages, read by Pamela, on 06/12/2013

step of faith

Life is not lived in the long, downhill stretches of expressways, but in the obscure, perilous trails and back roads where we stumble and feel our way through the fog of our unknowing. Life is not a run. It is just one step of faith after another.

Alan Christoffersen lost his heart when his wife was killed in an accident almost one year ago. He lost his trust when his business partner stole his advertising business. He lost his home when the bank took his house. So Alan decided to leave his painful memories behind and walk from Seattle to the farthest point on the map, Key West, but in St. Louis, he is forced to stop.

Because his severe vertigo is diagnosed as the side effect of a brain tumor, Alan must go to Los Angeles for treatment. He is surrounded by those who care most for him: his father, who is happy to have Alan back in his childhood home; Falene, who has been by his side through his most difficult times; and Nicole, who helped him recover from a mugging in Spokane. One by one, Alan alienates them all, and he resumes his journey in angry loneliness. The people he meets as he walks the dusty southern back roads have lessons to teach Alan about accepting love. He just has to have faith that life can be worth living again; and that the woman he rejected will be willing to forgive him.

13. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Humor, Pamela

Diary of a Mad fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee, 356 pages, read by Pamela, on 06/12/2013

diary of a mad fat girl

Graciela “Ace” Jones is mad-mad at her best friend Lilly who cancels their annual trip to Panama City for mysterious reasons; at her boss Catherine for “riding her ass like a fat lady on a Rascal scooter;” at her friend Chloe’s abusive husband; and especially at Mason McKenzie, the love of her life, who has shown up with a marriage proposal one year too late. Ace is never mad, though, at her near-constant companion, an adorable chiweenie dog named Buster Loo.

Ace’s anger begins to dissipate as she takes matters into her own hands to take down Chloe’s philandering husband-and to get to the bottom of a multitude of other scandals plaguing Bugtussle, Mississippi. Then, she starts to realize that maybe Mason deserves a second chance after all.

With a sharp and distinctive voice, Stephanie McAfee delivers a hilarious and fast-paced tale about Ace Jones and her two best friends-thick as thieves and tough as nails-navigating Southern small-town politics and prejudices, finding love, and standing up for each other all the way.

This was a hilarious book and I recommend it to those who like complete and shear honesty.  I listened to it every evening while cooking dinner and found myself laughing often – I’m surprised my family did not question me as to what was so funny.


10. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

Story's End by Marissa Burt , 416 pages, read by Angie, on 06/09/2013

Story’s End takes place after the events of Storybound. Una, Peter and Indy have survived the return of the Enemy Fidelus and are out to stop his evil plots. Snow and her mother have been captured by the Duessa and must find a way to escape. Duessa and Fidelus are out to rewrite Story so that only their supporters survive and everyone worships them as the King and Queen of Story. The characters must unite to fight against them and pray for the return of the true king.

This is such a fun series. I love how creative Burt was in the creation of Story with its different districts of characters (Enchanted Forest, Westerns, Internationals, etc.). I also really enjoy the tale of the muses and how they created the Tales until they were imprisoned in an enchanted sleep. Una and her band of resistance fighters are all interesting and complex characters. The ending was completely satisfying and exactly what I hoped for. I am going to keep Marissa Burt on a to-read list.

10. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

The Golden Twine (Cat's Cradle, #1) by Jo Rioux, 112 pages, read by Angie, on 06/05/2013

This is the first book in the Cat’s Cradle graphic novel series. In this book, Suri dreams of being a monster fighter. She is living with a traveling caravan and looking for adventure. She finds it by stealing a magical string from a Caitsith, a cat-like creature who with the help of the string can appear human. She teams up with an imp and a giant dog to avoid the Caitsith family. There is adventure and magic and a lot of fun in this little book. It definitely leaves the story open for the rest of the series. I really enjoyed the illustrations; they are clear and definitely help tell the story.

07. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, 418 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/31/2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.

This was a type of tale I had not seen before, the stories of chimaerae and angels.  It’s a love story, is she human or monster and how does she feel about the truth when she finds it?  I may or may not want to read any follow-up books, but I did enjoy this one.

07. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, 417 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/27/2013

The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)

Kate, Michael, and Emma have passed from one orphanage to another in the ten years since their parents disappeared to protect them, but now they learn that they have special powers, a prophesied quest to find a magical book, and a fearsome enemy.

This may be a series I read just to see how the next 2 atlases are found.  I liked this book, see the appeal for young readers, it’s got a little magic, a little mystery, a little time travel.  It is being called a new Narnia for tweens, and that seems accurate enough, with just a bit of Harry Potter tossed in.  I want to discover the identity of the mastermind behind it all.

07. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby, 255 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/22/2013

Lost in the River of Grass

When two Florida teenagers become stranded on a tiny island in the Everglades, they attempt to walk ten miles through swampland to reach civilization.

Of the books of hers that I have read, I enjoyed this one the most. I liked being able to see exactly what it would be like to have to endure that trek, it was so real.  And the little twist at the end made it worth the read, it makes you go back and think if there were any tells at all to it during the story.  Although I did wonder why they didn’t even talk about getting the airboat out of the water!