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

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran, read by Tracy, on 08/01/2013

Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home.

From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets–an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied–and by foreigners, no less.

But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew, and rosewater baklava–and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous.

And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left behind in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present.

Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumph,s of two distinct cultures, Pomegranate Soup is an infectious novel of magical realism. This richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes, is a delectable journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Stealing Harper by Molly McAdams, read by Nikki, on 08/30/2013

Chase Grayson has never been interested in having a relationship that lasts longer than it takes for him and his date to get dressed again. But then he stumbles into a gray-eyed girl whose innocence pours off her, and everything changes. From the minute Harper opens her mouth to let him know just how much he disgusts her, he’s hooked.

But a princess deserves a Prince Charming who can make her dreams come true. Not a guy who can turn her life into a nightmare.

All good intentions go out the window when Harper starts to fall for the guy Chase has come to view as a brother. He wanted to protect her by keeping her away, but he can’t stand to see her with anyone else, and he’ll do anything to make her his. But when it comes down to Harper choosing between the two, will Chase have the strength to step back from the girl who has become his whole world if it means she’s happy?

Lines will be crossed. Friendships will be put to the test. And hearts will be shattered.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen , read by Nikki, on 08/13/2013

The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is out. Worse, he’s facing charges for battery. The only way he stands a chance against the charges is if Callie speaks up, something he’ll never ask her to do.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But saving him means admitting her secrets aloud. Callie and Kayden are stronger than they think, especially when they’re together. Together they move forward, face their demons, and finally start to heal from their traumatic pasts.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Falling Into Us by Jasinda Wilder , read by Nikki, on 08/24/2013

THE STORY YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW…

When Kyle Calloway died, he took a part of Nell with him. She wasn’t the only one left to pick up the pieces, however; Kyle’s death left a gaping hole in the hearts and lives of his parents and his older brother Colton, and ultimately broke the will of the girl he loved.

THE STORY YOU NEVER IMAGINED…

Becca de Rosa is Nell’s best friend. When Kyle died, Nell was so devastated that no one could reach her, not even her best friend Becca. As she tries to help Nell through her grief, Becca’s own life is thrust into turmoil, and everything she knows is changed.

Jason Dorsey asked Nell out the week after her sixteenth birthday, but that date never happened. Instead, he ended up going out with Nell’s best friend, Becca. He had no way of knowing, then, how that one date would send him on a life-long journey with Becca. He had no way of knowing the tragedies and triumphs he would experience, or that in Becca, he might find the love of a lifetime.

THE HEARTACHE YOU’LL NEVER FORGET…

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

The Game Changer by J. Sterling, read by Nikki, on 08/15/2013

Jack & Cassie’s story continues in the follow up to the Best Selling book, The Perfect Game.

Thrust into the spotlight, Cassie must learn how to navigate the waters of this sometimes unforgiving and cruel world. It’s a lifestyle that makes you question your happiness and sanity as the past is never truly far behind.

How do you stay together when the world’s trying to tear you apart?

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover , read by Nikki, on 08/06/2013

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

This Man Confessed by Jodi Ellen Malpas, read by Nikki, on 08/01/2013

The Manor, the very place where their passionate love affair began, fills with guests on what should be the happiest day of Ava and Jesse’s lives. She has accepted that she’ll never tame the fierceness in Jesse-and she doesn’t want to. Their love is profound, their connection powerful, but just when she thinks that she’s finally gotten beneath his guarded exterior, more questions arise, leading Ava to believe that Jesse Ward may not be the man she thinks he is. He knows too well how to take her to a place beyond ecstasy . . . but will he also drive her to the brink of despair? It’s time for this man to confess.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocolyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, read by Kristy, on 08/21/2013

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, read by Kristy, on 08/21/2013

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

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

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, read by Kristy, on 08/07/2013

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocolyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Kristy, on 08/02/2013

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

31. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Bring Me Home by Cassia Leo, read by Jessica, on 08/28/2013

Claire Nixon is a college student with a past full of secrets and heartbreak. She was saved once by her first love, and rock star, Chris Knight. But when she encouraged Chris to leave town to pursue his dreams, both Claire and Chris didn’t realize it would be the biggest mistake of their lives.

After a devastating year apart and thousands of miles of distance between them, Claire met sexy surfer Adam Parker. With his awful jokes and profound patience, he helped Claire pick up the shattered pieces of her broken heart for the second time.

But now Chris has returned and he is willing and determined to make Claire’s dreams come true—the same way she did for him when she let him go.

With Adam’s former girlfriend in the picture, Claire finds herself torn between the new, passionate love she shares with Adam and the love and family she shares with Chris.

30. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman., read by Kira, on 08/30/2013

seraphnaseraphinacover serrafinasrafinaserafina This is a delightful tale set in a world, where both Dragons and Humans are chaffing under the peace treaty they signed 40 years ago.  Before that, they were at war fighting over the dragons’ hunting grounds.

Seraphina is born into this conflicted empire trying to make her way.

 

Fast paced and great atmosphere!  I really enjoyed this book.

30. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Drama, Eric, Fiction · Tags: , ,

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, read by Eric, on 08/29/2013

13-yr-old Salamanca retraces with her grandparents the route taken by her mother when suddenly she left Sal and her father, and went to Lewiston, Idaho. Along the way, Sal tells her grandparents the story of moving from Kentucky to Ohio, and of how Phoebe, a new friend, also had a mother leave. The journey west combines with stories of the past to determine the future of Sal’s family.

This novel won the Newbery Award in 1995, and deserves all the praise it has gotten over the years. It is a powerful exploration and celebration of life, loss, new love, and mature love. Creech gives Sal’s voice an aching, coming-of-age truthfulness that should be experienced by everyone, and not just middle readers. If you’ve not done so already, read this book!

30. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, read by Eric, on 08/24/2013

In Kolkata, India, 12-yr-old Anand and his sister live with their mother in a tiny, one-room shack, barely scraping by on the combined wages of mother and son. One day, a mysterious old man, Abhaydatta, follows Anand home, and offers him a part in the quest to return a sacred, powerful conch shell to a valley of healers in the Himalayas. Joined by Nisha, an orphaned girl, Anand and Abhaydatta must make their way north, always on guard against the wiles of Surabhanu, former thief of the conch, and powerful sorcerer.

A classic fantasy quest tale with many elements similar to The Lord of the Rings, but with a wonderful Indian setting. Divakaruni’s writing drips with atmosphere, especially when describing native foods and locations. Everyone should hope to fill their lives with children like Anand, and the loving words of guidance and peace shared through this story. I need to look up more novels and poetry by this author!

30. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Seer of Shadows by Avi, read by Eric, on 08/22/2013

Horace is the apprentice for Enoch Middleditch, a photographer in 1870s New York City. When hired by the wealthy Von Macht family to photograph them in mourning for their lost daughter, the unscrupulous Middleditch has Horace help him create a fake double-exposure ghost image of the dead daughter within the Von Macht portrait, in order to lure them into continuing to use his services. Soon, however, Horace realizes that more than a scam is at work, for it seems that a real ghost is showing up on his photographic plates.

This tale is equal parts ghost story, mystery, and history. The descriptions of the old photographic techniques are interesting, but it is the interactions between Horace and a servant girl, Pegg, which supply the heart of the story. As the secrets of the Von Macht family are unveiled, and the creepy atmosphere builds, I can see why Avi remains a beloved children’s author.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen, read by Leslie, on 08/29/2013

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Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight.

I totally love stories that keep me reading, ones I don’t want to put down until they end and then I hate it that they end.  This is one of those books.  Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read on the teen level. I did not even suspect the way Robie helped keep herself going, until it was revealed at the end.  Highly recommended!

 

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

Dead City by James Ponti, read by Leslie, on 08/25/2013

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Most kids have enough to deal with between school, homework, extracurricular activities, and friends, but Molly Bigelow has something else on her list: hunting zombies. By day, Molly attends MIST—the Metropolitan Institute of Science and Technology—but outside the classroom she’s busy dealing with the undead. Because not only do zombies exist, they’re everywhere, and it’s her job to help police them and keep the peace. Sure, she’d like to be a regular kid, but given that her mother was the most revered (or feared, depending on your perspective) zombie hunter in the history of New York City, “regular” just isn’t possible. Molly’s got some legendary footsteps to follow—and some undeadly consequences if she fails.

I enjoyed this book, I think it would be alright for younger readers, as well.  It reminds me of the Maureen Johnson series, but with zombies, instead of ghosts.  The way they train to protect the zombies from the living, as well as the other way around, is a nice addition.  The teams don’t just exist to get rid of them.  It makes you look at New York City in a whole, new light.

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, read by Leslie, on 08/22/2013

Freakling (Psi Chronicles, #1)

In twelve-year-old Taemon’s city, everyone has a power called psi—the ability to move and manipulate objects with their minds. When Taemon loses his psi in a traumatic accident, he must hide his lack of power by any means possible. But a humiliating incident at a sports tournament exposes his disability, and Taemon is exiled to the powerless colony.

Although this is supposed to be the first in a series, I can’t quite see how the future stories will turn out, based on this one.  It’s another that would make for some interesting conversation.  What would it be like to grow up in a world where you used your mind to do everything in your daily life and how to view people without the same abilities?

29. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel, read by Leslie, on 08/18/2013

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On the day in 1935 when her mother vanishes during the worst dust storm ever recorded in Kansas, Callie learns that she is not actually a human being.

Callie grows up without her father, with her mother always saying he’ll come back for them.  During the biggest dust storm of the year, her mother disappears, and Callie learns that her father is one of the Fair Folk.  She struggles to figure out who to trust and how to find her mother, once again.