29. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl, read by Angie, on 09/27/2013

Genie has become the class blogger. Her blog has to be about wishes, hopes and dreams. Genie finds that she is a pretty decent blogger and really enjoys it. School isn’t nearly as fun as blogging though. Her best friend Sarah seems to have changed over the summer. She met Blair at summer camp and now Blair is going to school with them. All they seem to care about is make-up and boys and each other. Genie is feeling left out and left behind. But she starts making friends with some of the other 5th grade girls and realizes she has more in common with them then Sarah and Blair.

I like this story and I think girls are going to like it as well. I do think it is maybe geared towards younger girls even with the 5th grade characters. I wish there was more resolution between Sarah and Genie at the end of the book, but the lack of it does make it seem more realistic. Sometimes friends just grow apart. We have different friends for different parts of our lives. It isn’t always easy to make that change, but our new friends are usually good fits and make us happier than our old. I think that is a good message for kids.

27. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy

The Black Belt Librarian: Real-World Safety & Security by Warren Graham, read by Tammy, on 09/08/2013

black belt librarianThis brief book shares real world experience and provides examples for training, reporting, and procedures. The author worked as a library security manager for more than twenty years and shares what he learned worked well for his library and what did not. He gives library staff tools they can use if the library has a security staff or not. He shows how to easily set clear expectations for patron behavior and how to intervene when someone violates that code of conduct. This book provides practical real-world advice and aims to be confidence building for staff. The author’s goal is for all library staff to be able to maintain a comfortable, productive and safe environment for all patrons and staff in the library.

 

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

Ask The Passengers by A.S. King , read by Angie, on 09/27/2013

Ask the Passengers is an interesting look at one teen girl’s struggle with coming out. Astrid lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. She feels alienated from her family; her mom is a bitch, her dad is stoned all the time and her sister Ellis isn’t interested. Astrid’s two best friends are gay, but pretend to date each other as a cover. Astrid has been sort of seeing Dee Roberts, a girl she works with, for a couple of months. She isn’t sure how she feels about being gay and doesn’t really want anyone to know. After she finally comes out to her friends they get busted for being underage at a gay club. Now Astrid is completely alone as rumors fly and relationships deteriorate. She struggles with whether she should label herself as gay and what she should tell her parents.

The thing I liked about this book was how realistic it was. It can’t be easy for someone living in a small town to come out. Astrid is feeling pressure from all sides. Dee is out so she is uber-pushy in wanting Astrid to come out; she is also pushy to increase their physical relationship which pisses Astrid off and makes her uncomfortable. Her friends want to know all about her sexuality even though they keep theirs hidden. Her mom seems only interested in her sister and her sister enjoys the attention. Dad has checked out, sneaking out to the garage to get high all the time. As Astrid studies the philosophers, particularly Socrates (who she renames Frank), she starts questioning everything and having imaginary conversations with Frank. The title of the book comes from Astrid’s habit of watching planes and sending her love to them. She doesn’t feel like she has a place to give her love so she sends it off to those flying above her.

I like Astrid; she is sarcastic and snarky and unsure. She doesn’t want to be part of the rumor mill. She just wants to be herself, without labels or questions. I thought her family’s response to her sexuality was pretty typical. I also thought the response of the town was pretty typical. Equality is not a given, even in this day and age. People are still small-minded and filled with hate. I think the message of acceptance in this book is a good one and something we should all strive for.

27. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books

School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer, read by Tammy, on 09/14/2013

school for dangerousAngela’s parents decide that she has become uncontrollable or at least too much trouble for them to bother with. Instead they ship her off to Hidden Oak. A special boarding school for girls on the edge. Hidden Oak promises to rehabilitate these dangerous girls and sends frequent reports to the parents who are not allowed to call, write or visit during the school year. But Angela discovers there are girls who are being rehabilitated are girls who are just being manipulated for profit. This book reminded me a lot of the movie Girl, Interrupted.

 

27. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Promise Me Light by Paige Weaver, read by Jessica, on 09/26/2013

At one time my life was simple. Easy. But that was before the war. Now I was no longer an average college student. I was a survivor. A woman living in a ravaged world. My future was not bright and my life was far from perfect. The war had taken so much from me… but it wasn’t finished yet. It wanted more. It wanted my heart. My soul. The one person I couldn’t live without. It wanted Ryder Delaney. My best friend. The bad boy. The one person who could fight like no other and love me like no one else. He was the father of my baby. I watched him walk away one hot summer day and I prayed he would return. I needed him like I needed air to breathe and water to drink. Without him I was lost. A light without her darkness. Until he returns, I’ll wait for him. And I believe he will return because love is powerful… And so is the light calling him home.

27. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Pamela, Thriller/Suspense

12th of Never by James Patterson, read by Pamela, on 09/26/2013

12th of neverA week after giving birth, Lindsay Boxer is investigating two cases: a grisly murder where the main suspect is an NFL player and an eccentric professor who thinks his dreams of a murder are real. Will Detective Lindsay Boxer be pushed to breaking point? An eccentric professor walks into Lindsay’s homicide department to report a murder that hasn’t yet happened. A convicted serial killer wakes from a two-year coma. He says he’s ready to tell where the bodies are buried, but does he have a much more sinister plan in mind? Lindsay doesn’t have much time to stop a terrifying future from unfolding. But all the crimes in the world seem like nothing when she is suddenly faced with the possibility of the most devastating loss of her life.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Fiction, NonFiction, Sarah

Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder, read by Sarah, on 09/27/2013

  This book was fascinating to me.  Lynn Wilder and her husband joined the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) when they were newly married as a result of a couple of young men knocking at their door to share their testimony.  Lynn is an educator who is world renowned for her special education ideas and work with special needs children.  For 30 years, she raised her children to believe that if they worked hard enough, gave to the temple, and followed their callings with the church, that they would go to heaven.  Mind you, there are different levels of heaven in the Mormon church.  More good works equals a higher ranking in heaven.  Through a series of God-moments, trials, and tribulations, God reveals to Lynn’s son, Micah, that Jesus Christ is the only one to follow; not Joseph Smith’s teachings.  Lynn’s family is thrown into turmoil as they try to figure out the truth.

I had several close Mormon friends when I was growing up and this book opened my eyes to many of the things that go on behind closed doors in that church.  It really held my attention.  I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Mormon church or evangelical Christians.

 

 

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Fiction, Science Fiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher, read by Tammy, on 09/12/2013

star wars  Inspired by Shakespeare’s writing style and the language of his time. Here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise knight and an evil lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers.

This was quite entertaining. Reading C3-P0′s lines in iambic pentameter and Shakespearen English were hilarious. As well as R2-D2′s thoughts being done as “an aside” to the audience in full well-educated language.

 

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Poetry

Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet by Andrea Cheng, read by Angie, on 09/25/2013

Dave was a potter and a slave in South Carolina before the Civil War. He was sold among members of the Drake family as they built their Pottersville Stoneware Manufacturing company. Dave teaches himself to read and write and writes poems and sayings on the pots he creates even though he could be whipped for it. Little is known about Dave and few of his pots survive. Andrea Cheng has tried to piece his story together through poems in the voices of Dave, his wives and his owners. It is an interesting look at the life of a little known figure from history.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Multicultural Fiction

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman, read by Angie, on 09/25/2013

Tara Feinstein is negotiating the waters of 7th grade and preparing for her bat mitzvah. She questions whether she should even have a bat mitzvah; can she reconcile her Indian side with her Jewish side? She is also dealing with her best friend Rebecca who might have become friends with Sheila Rosenberg and her other best friend Ben-O who might actually LIKE her!

Most books for middle grades are all about white characters with a middle-class, christian background. This was a nice, fresh, multi-cultural book. I liked that being Indian or being Jewish was not really treated as different, just as something you are. Tara’s only conflict was how to meld the two cultures. I really liked all the middle school angst of new friends and boys and everything that goes along with it. I would definitely recommend this one.

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

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Tammy

Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill, read by Tammy, on 09/24/2013

heart-shaped box   Retired rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for damaged young women and for the macabre. He has a list of ex-girlfriends that he found entertaining for awhile but then sooner or later tired of. He doesn’t even call them by name but by the state they are from. He also keeps a mysterious collection of objects in his home including sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose and Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard. So, he’s thrilled when his assistant tells him a ghost is for sale on an online auction site. He ends up winning the sale.

But then the black, heart-shaped box arrives in the mail. It not only contains the suit of a dead man but his vengeful ghost. The ghost is the stepfather of an ex-girlfriend who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne sent her home on the train. Let the vengeful haunting and soul searching begin!

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Blueboy by George Pica, read by Tammy, on 09/25/2013

blueboyThis detective novel set in 1964 Tacoma, Washington introduces the reader to Tacoma Police Captain Thomas Gaston. He is the chief of detectives and a war veteran returned home. It’s been a rough year. He’s separated from his wife and living with his dad. A childhood friend has been murdered. Then he is charged with helping to bomb his favorite watering hole ten years ago and the charges just keep piling on. He has been stripped of command of the TPD’s detective bureau and replaced by his best friend. His new “office” under the stairs is shared with one of the janitors. Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse his father has a stroke.  Two shadowy figures may be trying to kill him and all his friends and family. Who really killed his friend? Is it related to the bombing he’s being set-up for? In spite of the cover art the book is a hard-boiled detective novel. Nothing in the book is fantasy or horror.

Written by a Missouri author. : )

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Superstition by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 09/26/2013

Sparks fly between a police chief and a reporter who are thrown together when a brutal killer comes out of hiding after fifteen years.

Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Sunny, idyllic, and picture perfect, until a tabloid news program airs a splashy segment about the community’s only unsolved murder-the grisly stabbing of teenager Tara Mitchell and the subsequent disappearance of her two best friends, both thought to be long dead. In the years since the murders, several families have moved into the mansion where the crime occurred, each claiming that the dead girls still haunt the house. Beautiful redheaded reporter Nicole Sullivan, sensing the story that could be her big break, arranges for her mother, a renowned psychic, to contact the three victims via a live séance on the show Twenty-four Hours Investigates.

But something goes terribly wrong during the segment, and a young woman is murdered in the exact same manner as Tara Mitchell was fifteen years earlier. Pressured by her producers to get the inside story, Nicole is ordered to continue to investigate. As an attraction grows between Nicole and police chief Joe Franconi, another identical murder occurs, along with a menacing note warning that the original killer is back to claim three more lives. The body count rises, and so does the danger to Nicole, who is attacked, barely escaping with her life. She and Joe are forced to join forces as it becomes clear that the killer has set his sights on Nicole as his next victim.

Tightly plotted and deeply suspenseful, Superstition is Karen Robards’s most captivating work yet.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, read by Melody, on 09/24/2013

One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

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.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Melody, on 09/22/2013

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.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Melody, Romance

Tiger's Eye by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 09/19/2013

Lady Isabella St. Just is shocked to learn the identity of the daring champion who comes to her aid — for the man who rescues her from desperate felons is none other than Alec Tyron, the notorious king of London’s underworld. Now she is beholden to an outlaw who is respected and feared throughout the city and stunned by her own intense desire for this dark man of mystery. Fate has united these strangers from opposite lives — the beautiful aristocrat and the brazen criminal outlaw. And now that the flame has been lit, no power on Earth will quench the fire of their passion…or destroy a love that society cannot allow.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Bait by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 09/12/2013

It’s a business trip that takes attorney Maddie Fitzgerald down to New Orleans, but it’s hardly business as usual when a man breaks into her hotel room and tries to kill her. Barely escaping with her life, the sexy, stylish thirty-two-year-old brunette calls the police and finds herself face-to-face with FBI agent Sam McCabe. Unnerved by his questions-and his good looks-Maddie is told she’s been targeted by a hired killer, one who has eluded McCabe for years. Apparently, she’s been mistaken for another woman, an FBI informant of the same name who was also staying at the hotel that night. McCabe grills her, and then disappears. Shaken, she finishes her business and returns home to St. Louis. But days later, Maddie is attacked a second time, and again McCabe returns to question her. He convinces her that the only way she’ll ever be safe again is if the killer is caught, and the quickest way to nab him is to use her as bait. Maddie reluctantly agrees, and sparks fly and then ignite as McCabe shadows her. But their unexpected romance throws McCabe off his stride-and puts Maddie in the hands of a killer. A bewitching combination of pulse-pounding twists and blazing romance, Baitis the remarkable Karen Robards at her best.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Hunted by Jaycee Clark, read by Melody, on 09/05/2013

Sins can be buried, but they’re never forgotten . . .

Morgan Gaelord has lived with the knowledge of her past and the fear of her secret for years. No one knows the truth behind her nightmares in the hellish Czech Republic underground, and they never will. She’s carved a life for herself, helping her brothers run the family antiquities business. Nothing and no one is taking this slice of contentment away from her.

Lincoln Blade III, owner of the premier Blade Jewelers, has put his past behind him. Retired from his days with InterPol and undercover operations, he’s enjoying the corporate side of life. He’s spent years in the cesspools of society, helping the lucky escape, and he has no intention of being dragged back.

But someone from both their pasts changes that. Women who escaped the world of sex slaves are being hunted and eliminated. When the victims are linked to Blade and his past, he’s forced back into a role he’d vowed to leave behind, and both he and Morgan must trust each other before the killer reaches his final target.

24. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

All That's Missing by Sarah Sullivan , read by Angie, on 09/24/2013

Arlo is an orphan who lives with his grandpa, Poppo. Poppo’s memory is not so good anymore. He wonders about and forgets things a lot. Poppo has a stroke and ends up in the hospital; Arlo ends up in a group home. He decides to run away and find his grandma, Ida Jones. Ida lives in Edgewater, Virginia, so Arlo hops a bus for the 350 mile trip. He hasn’t seen Ida since he was 2 years old when his parents died. There were hard feelings between Ida and her husband and Poppo. But Ida is happy to see Arlo and takes him in. He settles into Edgewater, makes new friends and starts learning more about his father. He still thinks about Poppo, who he talks to on the phone, and worries about living so far from him. Ida had planned on selling her house and moving to a retirement community, but all that changed when Arlo arrived. The prospective buyer, Mr. Grainger, is pretty insistent however and starts causing trouble for Ida.

There aren’t a lot of books like this with a kid dealing with a grandparent’s Alzheimer’s. I enjoyed the fact that even without parents Arlo had a loving family who really wanted what was best for him. The mystery surrounding Mr. Grainger was interesting and surprising. I also really enjoyed Arlo’s new friend Maywood. I liked her family and her obsession with ghosts. I also like that the supernatural occurrences were not explained. We don’t know what really happened, if anything happened or if it was all in Arlo’s imagination. Good story and mystery.

I received this book from Netgalley.com.

23. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas, read by Angie, on 09/20/2013

Emmy Blue is heading West. Her father has decided he is going to build a business block in Golden, Colorado. So the entire family has to pack up and leave Quincy, Illinois and set out with a wagon train to the wild west. Emmy is a little excited and scared to be going west, but she is also sad to leave home, family and friends. As they are walking across the prairie, Emmy starts piecing a quilt her grandma gave her; her mother and aunt piece as well. Along the way, they become friends with others in the wagon train. There are dangers along the trail like rattlesnakes and accidents, but the family finally makes it to Colorado and sets up house.

I enjoyed this historical fiction account of a family heading west. I thought the wagon train life seemed pretty accurate. I like that dangers, both from within and without, were included. The domestic abuse parts were handled very well for this age group and could spark great discussions. I am not sure how you sew and walk, but maybe I am just not that coordinated!