31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, 371 pages, read by Angie, on 08/30/2013

In 1922, Cora Carlisle becomes the chaperone of a young Louise Brooks as she heads to New York to become a dancer. Cora is an unassuming wife and mother from Kansas who has lived a quiet life. Louise is a young flapper with dreams of making it big and getting out of Kansas. Cora has ulterior motives in going to New York. Only her husband knows that she was born in New York and raised in an orphanage until she was sent on an orphan train west and adopted by the Carlisles. Cora wants to know who she is and where she came from. At the orphanage she meets Joseph who helps her find her records. Cora’s marriage is also not what it seems and she finds herself attracted to Joseph and willing to risk everything. The story is told in the present with flashbacks to Cora’s life before New York. We learn more and more as the story unfolds.

I really enjoyed this story about Cora and her life both before and after New York. The audiobook was wonderful to listen to and I never really wanted to turn it off. I liked that Louise was a real person and the actual events of her story were used to tell this tale. I did think it went on a little too long. We do get Cora’s entire life story from birth to death, but I would have been happy if it had ended shortly after she got back from New York. The rest seemed like more of an extended epilogue/summary of events and very different storytelling from the first two-thirds of the book. There was a lot of wonderful historical information in this book and I would highly recommend it.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Informational Book, NonFiction

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 08/30/2013

When Michelle Obama came to the White House she decided to start a garden. She was inspired by the Victory Gardens of times past and community gardens. She wanted the White House Garden to be America’s Garden. She wanted to start a dialog about eating fresh and local and to inspire others. The White House Garden became very successful and its message has been heard in schools and communities across the country. This book details how the garden was planned and implemented, what activities have occurred because of the garden and how other gardens and communities have sprung up around the country. There are wonderful tips about planting and the different plants that you can grow in your garden. I was especially inspired by the stories of schools who have changed the food they serve to kids and by the story of the food bus that now delivers fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods without access to fresh foods. Michelle Obama narrates this book along with a host of others including kids, community leaders, private organization volunteers and chefs. Truly inspiring!

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 08/29/2013

Cat is finally going to get the help she needs. She suffered a concussion and has been having problems ever since; she has headaches, is dizzy and can’t do a lot of the things she used to. So she has come to ICAN in the Everglades to get help. There are other kids her age there getting this new treatment as well. Right from the start Cat and her friends notice something is not quite right at the institute. Turns out things are very wrong. They need to find out what is going on and get help before it is too late.

This was a fast-paced adventure that I am sure kids are really going to enjoy. There is a good deal of mystery and intrigue. Lots of chases with bad guys through the swamp. Even though I think kids will like this one; it was not my favorite. I had a hard time believing the story because it just seemed so far fetched. I’m not sure about the science either. It did hold my attention and was a quick read however.

I received a copy of this book on Netgalley and from the publishers at ALA 2013.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson , 180 pages, read by Angie, on 08/28/2013

The Civil Rights Movement was at a standstill and organizers were not sure how to get it started again. Then the kids started marching and things started moving. The jails were soon filled with children and students, but more and more kept joining the movement. They were determined to make changes in their world and their determination and fearlessness paid off. This is the story of several of the young people who marched in Birmingham that year; they were jailed and hosed with fire hoses and chased by dogs and jeered at by whites, but they stayed strong. They have told their stories to Cynthia Levinson in a moving account of how things happened. I loved the first person aspect of this book; it makes you feel like an insider to a part of history. The back matter of the audiobook included the actual interviews with those featured in the book. This was a wonderful peak into history.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs , 384 pages, read by Angie, on 08/28/2013

Sweet Legacy is the final book in the Medusa Girls trilogy. This book picks up immediately where the second book ended with Grace, Gretchen and Greer, and their posse, trying to rescue the gorgons and open the gate to the world of the monsters. They are surrounded by enemies on all sides; gods and monsters who either want the gate opened or who want it sealed forever. The sisters must solve the riddle, find the gate, open it and not die all while battling their enemies and saving their friends.

I really enjoyed this series; it is fun and exciting. I like the Greek Mythology mixed into the story and the little bit of romance for each of the sisters. In this final book they have all paired up with the boys of their choice and the romances all seem nice and hopeful. It is really great to read about teen romances that do not include a love triangle and do not have sinister intentions. I like the way this series ended with hope and family and the promise of battles to come.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers at ALA 2013.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Biographies, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright , 304 pages, read by Angie, on 08/28/2013

The Rent Collector is the story of Sang Ly, a poor Cambodian woman who lives in Stung Meanchey, a municipal dump. She and her husband survive by picking out recyclables from the thousands of tons of trash that are deposited in the dump each day. Their young son lives in the shack with them and is constantly sick. Sang Ly wants a better life (or any life) for her family and her son. She convinces the rent collector to teach her to read in the hopes of improving her circumstances. In the process she learns more about herself and the rent collector.

I got this book at ALA 2013; I don’t usually pick up books for adults, but this one looked intriguing. I am so glad I did. This was a wonderful book about a young mother’s determination to change her life and of an old woman’s desire to make amends. I loved how we learned more and more about the rent collector as Sang Ly learned more and more about literature. I really enjoyed the fact that the author included excerpts from actual literature from around the world in the book. Even though parts of the book were fictionalized it is based on true people which makes it that much more amazing. I would definitely recommend this one to a lot of people.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction

Jump Boys: SOS by Alex Banks , 322 pages, read by Angie, on 08/26/2013

In the future, a group has fled Earth and someone ended up in another universe. Val and Jayce are young boys growing up on a space station in the beta universe. Their dad is working on a way to get them back to alpha earth, but hasn’t been successful yet. They are dared into making a jump by their cousin. Instead of jumping to another planet, they jump to another universe. There someone they are still able to communicate with their universe and they intercept an SOS from a girl stuck on this earth. They have to outrun pirates, space station guards and their sinister uncle and commander of the space station.

This is a fun, space adventure for kids. However, I like characters who are a little more realistic than Val and Jayce. They are almost too perfect in that they are super smart and basically can do anything they want; I like my characters to have a few more flaws. I thought the multi-universe concept was interesting, but got a bit tangled at the end. I am still not sure about the science behind the ideas in this book. If they can’t even get back to the main universe how could they get an SOS and/or communicate across universes?

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin

Glory Be! by Augusta Scattergood, 202 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/29/2013

A Mississippi town in 1964 gets riled when tempers flare at the segregated public pool. Debut author Scattergood has drawn on real-life events to create a memorable novel about family, friendship, and choices that aren’t always easy.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristin

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker, 275 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/22/2013

A foster child named Angel and twelve-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella’s great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristin

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen, 290 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/08/2013

When the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” disappears while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades using animals from the wildlife refuge run by Wahoo Crane’s family, Wahoo and classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find him while avoiding Tuna’s gun-happy father.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, 307 pages, read by Kristin, on 08/02/2013

With love and determination befitting the “world’s greatest family,” twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Blue Monday by Nicci French, 416 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/30/2013

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when a picture of his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.

Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson doesn’t take Frieda’s concerns seriously until a link emerges with an unsolved child abduction twenty years ago and he summons Frieda to interview the victim’s sister, hoping she can stir hidden memories. Before long, Frieda is at the center of the race to track the kidnapper.

But her race isn’t physical. She must chase down the darkest paths of a psychopath’s mind to find the answers to Matthew Farraday’s whereabouts.

And sometimes the mind is the deadliest place to lose yourself.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

The bookman's tale by Charlie Lovett, 368 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/25/2013

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Horror, Tracy

Stokers Manuscript, by Royce Prouty, 352 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/23/2013

When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.

After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he’s become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley’s only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley’s salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward’s flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.

Building on actual international events surrounding the publication of Bram Stoker’s original novel, Royce Prouty has written a spellbinding debut novel that ranges from 1890s Chicago, London, and Transylvania to the perilous present.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The English Assassin by Daniel Silva, 416 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/20/2013

An Israeli spy by trade and art restorer by preference, Gabriel Allon arrives in Zurich to restore the work of an Old Master for a millionaire banker—and finds himself standing in blood and framed for the man’s murder.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Joyland by Stephen King, 283 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/18/2013

Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park. It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a ‘carny’ in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Science Fiction, Tracy

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, 370 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/15/2013

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

First Frost by James Henry, 368 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/08/2013

It’s Denton, 1981. Britain is in recession, the IRA is becoming increasingly active and the country’s on alert for an outbreak of rabies. Detective Sergeant Jack Frost is working under his mentor and inspiration DI Bert Williams, and coping badly with his increasingly strained marriage. Probably not helped by the fact that he never goes home.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak , 552 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/06/2013

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy

Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran, 292 pages, read by Tracy, on 08/04/2013

More than a year has passed since Marjan, Bahar, and Layla, the beautiful Iranian Aminpour sisters, sought refuge in the quaint Irish town of Ballinacroagh. Opening the beguiling Babylon Café, they charmed the locals with their warm hearts and delectable Persian cuisine, bringing a saffron-scented spice to the once-sleepy village.

But when a young woman with a dark secret literally washes up on Clew Bay Beach, the sisters’ world is once again turned upside down. With pale skin and webbed hands, the girl is otherworldly, but her wounds tell a more earthly (and graver) story–one that sends the strict Catholic town into an uproar. The Aminpours rally around the newcomer, but each sister must also contend with her own transformation–Marjan tests her feelings for love with a dashing writer, Bahar takes on a new spiritual commitment with the help of Father Mahoney, and Layla matures into a young woman when she and her boyfriend, Malachy, step up their hot and heavy relationship.

Filled with mouthwatering recipes and enchanting details of life in Ireland, Rosewater and Soda Bread is infused with a lyrical warmth that radiates from the Aminpour family and their big-hearted Italian landlady, Estelle, to the whole of Ballinacroagh–and the world beyond.