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

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, & Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, 164 pages, read by Angie, on 08/23/2013

Who doesn’t love a bad girl? Jane Yolen teams up with her daughter to give us brief glimpses of the lives of several bad girls throughout history. We learn about such bad girls as Salome, Cleopatra, Bloody Mary, Lizzie Borden, and many, many more. The information is presented in two to four page chunks that will whet your appetite for more information about each of these women. Yolen doesn’t gloss over their bad deeds but she does offer explanations for the times and for history’s retelling. Interspersed between the chapters are one page graphic novel format sessions of Jane and Heidi doing “research” and arguing over the latest bad girl. These segments are funny since a lot of their research involves eating, traveling and shoes. I think kids will enjoy these bad girls and their stories. You can read them all or just your favorites and with only a couple of pages for each lady it doesn’t take very long.

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

Fear of Falling by S.L. Jennings , 320 pages, read by Jessica, on 08/22/2013

I can’t remember the last time I felt completely safe. Security seemed more like a luxury to me, reserved for those who were fortunate enough to have picture perfect childhoods. For those who didn’t bear the ugly scars that keep me bound in constant, debilitating fear. I’ve run from that fear my entire life. But when I met him, for once, I couldn’t run anymore.

He scared the hell out of me in a way that excited every fiber of my being. It wasn’t the tattoos or the piercings. It wasn’t the warmth that seemed to radiate from his frame and blanket me whenever he was near. It was just…him. The scary beautiful man that threatened to alter 23 years of routine and rituals, and make me face my crippling fear.

My name is Kami and I am constantly afraid. And the thing that scares me the most is the very thing I want.

23. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books · Tags:

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 08/22/2013

Veronica and her bestie McKenna are going to be spending the summer in Scotland in a cottage McKenna has inherited from her aunt Gracie. Veronica starts having vision of a beautiful Scottish lad named Jamie. She becomes more and more obsessed with him, especially after she learns about the legend of Doon. It seems the brig a’ Doon is right by the cottage. After finding Gracie’s journal the girls realize Doon is real. Magic rings get them into the kingdom where the meet two princely brothers, Jamie and Duncan. Jamie is the man of Veronica’s dreams, but he doesn’t seem interested. Duncan is extremely interested in McKenna but she just wants to go back to the real world and her theater internship in Chicago. They are also suspected of being in league with the Witch of Doon, who was banished years ago but still wants to destroy this magical kingdom. Will love prevail? Will the evil witch be destroyed?

I like the characters in this book. Veronica and McKenna are more like sisters than friends and that comes across. I thought Duncan was awesome and I couldn’t understand McKenna’s reluctance. There is a lot of the “I love you but I shouldn’t” type situations throughout the book between both couples. It got a little old. I really didn’t get why Veronica liked Jamie so much when he treated her like crap. I think the book was a little long for the story. Most of the action happens in the last couple of chapters when they confront the witch, but 80% of the book was romantic entanglements. I actually did like the ending even though it seemed a little strange and sudden. Not sure I’ll read any more of the books, but this one was ok.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley.com and at ALA 2013.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Mangaman by Barry Lyga, 126 pages, read by Angie, on 08/22/2013

Ryoko falls through a “rip” from his manga world to a realistic world. He does not fit in to school or life because he is so different than the “normal” kids. He changes form when struck by a strong emotion, sweat drops appear on his head, when he moves too fast lines appear in the air around him and many other manga style things happen. He falls in love with popular girl Marissa and wants to teach her that her world is not that different than his. He teaches her how to move between the panels. Their romance/friendship causes problems with her ex and the kids at school.

This is a very meta type book. Barry Lyga uses all kinds of different manga references to tell the story and illustrate Ryoko. I don’t read manga, but I loved that aspect of the book. I thought the story itself was a little flat, but I think that might have been part of the point. It is always interesting to see how characters react when they know they are in a book.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Historic Photos of Missouri by Alan Goforth, 206 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/17/2013

historic photos

This book contains many interesting photos of Missouri throughout it’s history including some from Cole and Osage County. In fact the first photo inside the book is from Chamois, Missouri in Osage County!

This book conveys Missouri’s rich cultural heritage and history through this collection of photos. Ranging from city life to rural country life this book features some of the states most important natural resources, including the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. Nearly 200 vivid black-and-white photographs show the reader the places, people and events that have shaped the history of the Show-Me State. From the early 1870s to the 1970s are photos of President Ulysses Grant’s cabin, the Gateway Arch,  cotton pickers in the Bootheel, the 1904 World’s Fair, Whiteman Air Force Base, the Lake of the Ozarks,the St. Louis Browns, the first capitol at Jefferson City, Ste. Genevieve and other towns as they looked in days gone by.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags:

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine, 341 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/08/2013

fall of night  Claire finally is granted her wish to attend the graduate program at MIT and leave Morganville, TX. But of course, strings are attached. Amelie has arranged for her to be enrolled in an advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native and she will have to continue some of the research she started with Myrnin and report back to him and Amelie.

She is able to live off-campus with a high school friend who has troubles of her own and Claire soon discovers that life is full of dangers anywhere you live and little does she know that Morganville isn’t the only town with vampire issues.
Professor Anderson finds out about Claire’s vampire “control device” and immediately has Claire bring it in to her secret lab but when Dr. Anderson starts testing Claire’s machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines, 308 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/18/2013

libromancer  I loved this book. It was so much fun. The author weaves classics, fantasy titles, science fiction, mythology and crime dramas into the story as well as some novels he created just for this work.

Isaac Vainio is a librarian in a small town library. He is happy with his daily duties helping his patrons and cataloging though the library director doesn’t know what to think of his pet spider be carries with him everywhere, Scorch. He is also a libriomancer, a member of a secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw out objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that have leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape with his life. Then he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users and Johannes Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of beautiful dryad, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. His search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. He will have to make some difficult choices to save lives and possibly all of humanity.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman, 201 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/10/2013

if i stay  A hauntingly beautiful look at what matters in life and what is worth fighting for…

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A layered, story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice we each may some day have.

22. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Neferet's Curse by P.C. Cast, 146 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/11/2013

neferet  This is the story of who Neferet, high priestess of the Oklahoma House of Night, was before becoming a high priestess.

Set in Chicago in 1893 as the city prepares for the World’s Fair, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be enjoying her last few days as a carefree youth of a prosperous family. But her whole life changes when her mother dies leaving her the adult responsibility of being Lady of Wheiler House as her father, a powerful bank president, needs her to entertain and conduct the house as her mother would to help him keep his social standing and influence among the city’s wealthy and powerful and the designers and leaders of The White City: The Chicago World’s Fair.

As Emily tried to adjust to her new role and it’s many responsibilities that she is unprepared for she realizes that her father has a dark violent side she’s never seen before and she reaches out to a handsome young man and his family at one of her father’s parties. But then she is marked by a vampyre and once again her whole world changes.

21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Maze Runner by James Dashner, 375 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/06/2013

maze runner  Thomas wakes up in a dark box that is moving upwards. He has no idea where he is or why. In fact the only thing he can remember is his name. When the doors above him open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

None of the Gladers know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. The boys divide all the tasks up among themselves and work together to survive in their strange environment. Some of the boys run through the maze on the outside of the doors that open each day looking for clues on their way out of the maze and the glade and possibly a way home.

Thomas is thinking he can settle in to this new world if he can just find his place, but the next day, a girl arrives in the box. The first time two people have arrived in the same month, the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade and she delivers a mysterious message that may change everything for the Gladers.

21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Dystopia, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags:

Divergent by Veronica Roth, 487 pages, read by Tammy, on 08/03/2013

divergent  In dystopian Chicago,  society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to a specific virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). One day a year all citizens who are now 16 must select the faction they will belong to for the rest of their lives. All sixteen year olds take a test to determine which faction they are best suited for but the choice is left up to the individual. Most choose the faction they grew up in, but not all.Our heroine, Beatrice, is growing up in the Abnegation faction and now must decide does she stay with her parents or does she follow who she really is? If she changes factions she will rarely ever see her parents or brother since not only are living quarters determined by faction but also career paths and marriage options.

During the initiation into her chosen faction, Beatrice renames herself Tris. The initiation is daunting but Tris also has a secret, one that she doesn’t fully understand herself but that she’s hiding on fear of death.

This book has won numerous awards including: ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee (2012), Children’s Choice Book Award Nominee for Teen Choice Book of the Year (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), dabwaha for Best Young Adult Romance (2012), Goodreads Choice for Favorite Book of 2011 and for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2011)

21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Fourmile by Watt Key , 240 pages, read by Angie, on 08/20/2013

Foster lives with his mom at Fourmile. His dad died the previous year in a tragic accident that still haunts Foster. His mom has started seeing Dax, who Foster and his dog dislike intensely. Fourmile is becoming rundown without his dad to fix things up. Foster’s mom Linda plans to sell the farm and move to Montgomery where her dad lives. One day Gary arrives at the farm. He is an ex Special Forces soldier who is hiking to Texas. He stays on at the farm to do some of the work that needs to be done on the place. Foster and his mom both become attached to Gary even though they know they shouldn’t. Of course Dax is not happy with his presence and things get out of control.

This was an intense read. I read it in one setting mainly because I didn’t want to put it down. I thought it was a very realistic look at life on a farm and what happens in an abusive relationship. The violence in the book all seemed necessary in a way to tell the story. It wasn’t graphic, but it might be too intense for some younger readers. I really liked Foster and how he reacted to everything. It felt like the way I would react in that situation, which really made me identify with him. I loved the ending of the book and thought it was a perfect way to finish this story. I would definitely recommend this to upper elementary and middle school students.

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

The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 08/19/2013

Russell Freedman is a master of children’s nonfiction. His work is readable and interesting. His look at WWI, the War to End All Wars, was a fascinating read. He gives us the history and politics that started the war and the major campaigns and battles in the war. He also takes a look at the aftermath and how it led to WWII. This was a war that changed how wars were fought. 20 million people were killed during WWI and yet the world went to war again 20 years later. It is like we learned nothing. I would definitely recommend this for fans of military and historical information.

21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Janet, NonFiction

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett, 274 pages, read by Janet, on 08/19/2013

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession     This is “The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession”.  It was well told and one feels you really get to know John Charles Gilkey, who deeply loves books.  (He just doesn’t think he should pay for them.)  The author often discussed his activities with Ken Sanders, who also loved and collected books (legally) and worked as an amateur detective to catch Gilkey.  Although he was put in jail several times for thievery, it didn’t dampen his love of books and need to collect.  He agrees with the saying, “Physical artifacts carry memory and meaning, and this is as true of important historical texts as it is of cherished childhood books.”  He likes them all.  He considered himself to be an existentialist because “they can’t differentiate between right and wrong”.  He read many of the books he took and didn’t think it was wrong to have a book he enjoyed.  He did have a job occasionally (usually working in a bookstore), but made a good bit of his spending money selling stolen books.

Gilkey knew the author was writing a book about him and was both careful about how much he shared, and delighted to be considered an important subject.  At the end of the story he was known to have just stolen a book from a Canadian dealer.  He was not arrested.  “The story never ends.”

20. August 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, 412 pages, read by Kira, on 08/19/2013

daught of bloodd of b2I loved Anne Bishop’s newest book Written in Red, and thought I’d try another of her books while I wait for the sequel to Written in Red.  Wow! what a difference 15 years can make.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still an engaging story, but Written in Red was so much better.  There was a great deal of cruelty by the characters that perpetuated more cruelty, rather distressing.  Spicyness level of 4 out of 5.d of b3

Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin presents a dazzling exploration of how life co-evolved with the changes in our planet.

Cool things I learned:

Camp Century, a U.S. Army cave city carved inside Greenland’s glacier before they realized that glaciers move and would ultimately crush the base.

The impact of carbon dioxide. The cycle of carbon. “The rise of thA man gazes at the Milky Way outside his housee Tibetan Plateau led to the shift from a warm Earth to a cold one; it did so by pulling carbon from the air via erosion of rock”

How algae made the earth habitable for other organisms because they produce oxygen.

Blake’s quote ‘To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour’ is an apt description of this book, encompassing both the awe and wonder of the universe and life.]

Very cool and very reader friendly!unv wi  univ withnCT neil_shubin02.jpg Neil-Shubin-the-universe-within   universe_withinuni withn2

20. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Poetry, Reviewer, Short Stories · Tags: ,

Welcome to Bordertown : new stories and poems of the Borderlands by ed Holly Black and Ellen Kushner ; introduction by Terri Windling. Neil Gaiman, 516 pages, read by Kira, on 08/18/2013

wel bordtbordt lives  The premise of the series of bordtown wallinterlinked short stories is that the in-between town aka Bordertown where elves essential_border_cover_artand hret bordumans can co-exist has been closed to travel between the realms for the last 13 bordtown livesyears, and has now opened up again [its also been 13 years since the previous Bordertown collection of short stories].  What was 13 days in bord townBordertown itself, was 13 years in the World (of humans).  The short stories are really a mixed bag.  A couple focused on the theme of immigrants in the US.  Many focused on the problem of Elf borderland_cover_secondSuperiority – or the racism of the elves.

I didn’t care for  Ours bordtonnis the Prettiest by Nalo Hopkinson (didn’t really fit in this world), nor We do NOT come in Peace by Christopher Barzak (protagonist is soo depressed).  But most disappointing was the Neil Gaiman piece was just a short poem, and imho not a very good one, I couldn’t wait til black-coat-elfit ended.bordertown__when_you_give_an_elf__

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

Unbreakable by Rebecca Shea , 339 pages, read by Jessica, on 08/19/2013

Jessica Harper is the epitome of perfection. She’s a good daughter, makes excellent grades, and always strays on the safe side of life. The last thing she thought would ever happen was falling in love with her best friend’s brother. But sometimes fate just has a way of bringing two people together.

Wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Gabe Garcia, seems to have it all. When his feelings for Jessica come to surface, Gabe will give up everything to be with her.

But what happens when a tragedy abruptly changes the course of your life? For Jessica and Gabe, everything they thought they knew about each other will be questioned. Sometimes, there are scars in life that are cut too deep to completely heal.

Will their love prove to be unbreakable, or will it shatter and prove fate is just another lie?

19. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Eric, Fiction, Teen Books

The Maze Runner by James Dashner, 375 pages, read by Eric, on 08/05/2013

Thomas wakes in darkness, with no memory of the past, inside an elevator. Soon, he arrives at the Glade, which is surrounded by impossibly-high walls, and is greeted by the inhabitants- other teen boys. He soon learns that outside the Glade is a maze of unknown, deadly purpose, filled at night with horrific creatures known as Grievers. Why are the boys here?  How will they ever escape? Who is Thomas?

A decent mysterious object/device/location story is enough to get me to crack most any book. This story has a great one, in the towering form of the stone maze, which changes configuration each night. I also enjoy teen fiction, mostly because writers of it feel free to delve into the most outlandish plots and scenarios. A huge maze filled with amnesiac boys? Why not? Dashner spins a nice dystopian mystery- well enough that this is becoming a movie to be released next year. The characters are believable, and the setting is both cool and creepy. Don’t expect all the answers to life and the universe by the end, however. This is the first in a trilogy. Recommended!

19. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lutricia Clifton, 248 pages, read by Angie, on 08/18/2013

When his mother is sent to jail Frankie Joe is forced to leave his home in Laredo, Texas and all his friends to move to Clearview, Illinois with a father, step-mother and four half-brothers he has never met or known about. Life in Clearview is different. He doesn’t have as much freedom; he has to go to school, do chores and report his activities to his father. Frankie Joe plans to run away and ride his bike all the way back to Texas. He needs money to take on the road so he starts a bike delivery service. As his business takes off, he starts making new friends in the people he delivers for. He does better in school and he starts becoming a part of the family.

I found this book entertaining and a quick read. Frankie Joe is a likeable character; he is enterprising and smart even if his school work doesn’t reflect it. I liked the small town part of this story and all the characters we meet. I did find some of the family members underdeveloped and a little one-dimensional, but that didn’t take away from the story. I thought all the fish-out-of-water bits were pretty realistic. However, I found it questionable that all of Frankie Joe’s friends, both in Laredo and Clearview, would be old people; he really only has one friend his age (Mandy) who is as big a misfit as he is.

Fun fast read and one I think kids will enjoy despite its problems.