10. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction, Poetry

Cowboy Up!: Ride the Navajo Rodeo by Nancy Bo Flood, Jan Sonnemair, read by Angie, on 09/10/2013

The rodeo comes to life in this book. We live through an entire rodeo from setup to takedown. Each event is introduced by the rodeo announcer, a poem gives life to the event, and an explanation is given on the event. We learn about sheep riding, bronco busting, barrel racing, steer wrestling and rodeo clowns. The history of the rodeo is given as is its importance in Native American and Western culture. This book is very informative and interesting. It will make you want to go see a rodeo!

10. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Elemental by Antony John, read by Angie, on 09/09/2013

In the not too distant future a plague has wiped out the population of Earth. All that is left are those who took to the water to escape. They live on clan ships, pirate ships and there is a small community on Hatteras Island. This community of 14 people has set itself apart from the others; they are different. These people have control of the elements: earth, wind, fire, water. When a storm comes up the Guardians (adults) send the children to nearby Roanoke Island to shelter. When the storm is over the kids realize the Guardians have been kidnapped by pirates. It is up to them to first make sure they don’t get kidnapped as well and second rescue their parents.

Our cast of characters includes Alice, fire element, who has a secret and who is kind of an outcast; Rose, water element, the darling of the community and daughter of the leader; Dennis, wind element, brother of Rose; Griffin, earth element, deaf and lame boy who is also a seer; and Thomas, no element, brother of Griffin and true outcast of the community who no one will touch. On Roanoke, secrets are revealed about the Guardians and the past and more questions arise. Everyone’s elements seem to work so much better there than on Hatteras. And there is the question of why the pirate Dare wants “the solution” and what exactly that is.

I like the characters of Thomas and Griffin. They are intriguing because they are different from everyone else and they share a strong brotherly bond. I like how Antony John seems to always have deaf characters in his books and how they are not shown as weaker than others, just different. I am not sure why the romance element had to be brought up. It seemed a little forced to me. There is a love triangle between Thomas, Rose and Alice that plays throughout. Thomas seems to go back and forth between which girl he likes at any given moment. In such a small community I really wondered how they planned to continue the population. It isn’t really brought up, but I kept thinking about it throughout the book.

This book left more questions than it answered. It is clearly the start of a series and as such does a great job of peaking your interest and making you want to read more. I like the fact that it is set in the real world and the not so distant future. I really want to know what is so special about Roanoke and why these people have powers and what it has to do with the original colony there. All questions I hope will be answered in future books. This is an intriguing start and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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

The Young Healer by Frank N. McMillan III, read by Angie, on 09/08/2013

Feather and her grandfather set out on a quest to heal her young brother Peter. Spotted Eagle is a Lakota medicine man and he wants to teach Feather the traditions of their people. Their quest leads them throughout New York City during a raging snowstorm as they meet a Chinese herbalist, a homeless woman, a bear at the zoo and a grandfather at the Empire State Building. Their journey is full of magical coincidences that help making the vision quest more special. Feather’s mom, Ann, is resistant to the old ways and doesn’t want anything to do with a traditional healing ceremony, but Feather and Spotted Eagle are determined to help Peter.

I really enjoyed the fact that this book highlights a culture not seen in children’s realistic fiction very often, the Native American culture. I also liked that it was not only set in modern times, but also in a modern city. It highlighted how Native Americans can adapt their cultural traditions to fit a modern world, but still honor those ancient customs. I thought Feather and her grandfather were both fun, dedicated, interesting characters throughout the book. I did think Feather’s parents were a little one-dimensional, but they didn’t play a very big role in the book. I liked how the reader was left wondering if there was really magic playing a part or if it was just coincidences. A very special book that I am sure would be great for discussions.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Helen, Horror

Funland by Richard Laymon, read by Helen, on 08/29/2013

The Funland Amusement Park provides more fear than fun these days. A vicious pack known as the Trolls are preying on anyone foolish enough to be alone at night. Folks in the area blame them for the recent mysterious disappearances, and a gang of local teenagers has decided to fight back. But nothing is ever what it seems in an amusement park. Behind the garish paint and bright lights waits a horror far worse than anything found in the freak show. Step right up. The terror is about to begin!

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Helen, Horror

The stand by Stephen King, read by Helen, on 08/25/2013

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides–or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail–and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Helen, Historical Fiction

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, read by Helen, on 08/23/2013

He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham.

He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He’s a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody.

Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable-Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II-and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Helen, Historical Fiction

Those who save us by Jenna Blum, read by Helen, on 08/14/2013

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Helen, Mystery

American Rust by Philipp Meyer, read by Helen, on 08/06/2013

Set in a beautiful but economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town, a lush landscape as deceptively promising as the edifices of the abandoned steel mills, “American Rust” is a novel of the lost American dream and the desperation that arises in its absence.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Helen, Historical Fiction, Paranormal

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley, read by Helen, on 08/01/2013

In the waning months of World War II, young Evelyn Roe’s life is transformed when she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier, all but completely buried in the heavy red-clay soil on her family’s farm in North Carolina. When Evelyn rescues the stranger, it quickly becomes clear he is not a simple man. As innocent as a newborn, he recovers at an unnatural speed, and then begins to changeâ#128;#148;first into Evelyn’s mirror image, and then into her complement, a man she comes to know as Adam.

Evelyn and Adam fall in love, sharing a connection that reaches to the essence of Evelyn’s being. But the small town where they live is not ready to accept the likes of Adam, and his unusual origin becomes the secret at the center of their seemingly normal marriage.

Adam proves gifted with horses, and together he and Evelyn establish a horse-training business. They raise five daughters, each of whom possesses something of Adam’s supernatural gifts. Then a tragic accident strikes the family, and Adam, in his grief, reveals his extraordinary character to the local community. Evelyn and Adam must flee to Florida with their daughters to avoid ostracism and prying doctors. Adrift in their new surroundings, they soon realize that the difference between Adam and other men is greater than they ever imagined.

Intensely moving and unforgettable, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope captures the beauty of the natural world, and explores the power of abiding love and otherness in all its guises. It illuminates the magic in ordinary life and makes us believe in the extraordinary.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Thriller/Suspense

Dead Before Dark by Wendy Corsi Staub, read by Jane, on 08/27/2013

The Night Watchman is ready to kill again in this second book in Staub’s series–the follow-up to “Dying Breath.” This time, he sets his sights on a renowned psychic, and sends her startling messages through his murder victims.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Jane · Tags:

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann, read by Jane, on 08/18/2013

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret–behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

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

Mistress by James Patterson, David Ellis, read by Jane, on 08/16/2013

Ben isn’t like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts, he’s a man consumed by his obsessions: movies, motorcycles, presidential trivia-and Diana Hotchkiss, a beautiful woman Ben knows he can never have.

When Diana is found dead outside her apartment, Ben’s infatuation drives him on a hunt to find out what happened to the love of his life.

Ben soon discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a shocking double life. And now someone is out to stop Ben from uncovering the truth about Diana’s illicit affairs.

In his most heart-pumping thriller yet, James Patterson plunges us into the depths of a mind tortured by paranoia and obsession, on an action-packed chase through a world of danger and deceit.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Mystery

Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner, read by Jane, on 08/12/2013

An explosive stand-alone thriller from the Edgar Award-winning writer Stephen King called “the next suspense superstar.” Can a person ever really disappear for good by going off the grid? And what happens when vanishing is no longer an option?

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Mystery

Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger, read by Jane, on 08/09/2013

Like many men and women who’ve worn a badge for a good part of their lives, Corcoran Liam O’Connor was cursed. Twice cursed, in reality. Cursed with memory and cursed with imagination.  

Tamarack County, Minnesota, the gateway to the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Within its borders lie a million acres of deep forest, a thousand crystal clear lakes, and a few quiet towns. This is the place that, for most of his life, sheriff-turned-private investigator Cork O’Connor has called home.

As a blizzard swells just days before Christmas, the car belonging to the wife of a retired local judge is discovered abandoned on a rural road. After days without any leads, the search-and-rescue team, assisted by O’Connor, has little hope of finding her alive, if at all.

Early on, Cork notices small details about the woman’s disappearance that tell a disturbing story. And when the beloved pet dog of a friend is found decapitated, he begins to detect a startling pattern of ominous incidents throughout the area. Then Cork’s son is nearly killed, and he knows this is no trick of his imagination. Someone is spinning a deadly web in Tamarack County. At the center is a murder more than twenty years old for which an innocent man may have been convicted. Cork remembers the case only too well. He was the deputy in charge of the investigation that sent the man to prison.

As the threat of violence continues, so does life in the O’Connor household. Anne, Cork’s younger daughter, comes home, having determined that she’s going to leave her religious order. Teenaged Stephen is in love for the first time, and Cork is being courted as well, even as he struggles to redefine life without his wife, killed several years ago. What they all discover is that love, too, can be a curse. It can cause the greatest euphoria and the most profound despair. It can inspire forgiveness and understanding, passion and desire. It can provoke jealousy and rage. It can bring on betrayal and even murder.

With the darkest days of the year at hand, the storms of winter continue to isolate Tamarack County. Somewhere behind the blind of all the darkness and drifting snow, a vengeful force is at work, and Cork has only hours to stop it before his family and his friends will be forced to pay the ultimate price for the sins of others.

Full of riveting suspense, fascinating characters, and set in a gorgeous yet unforgiving landscape, Tamarack County is an outstanding addition to an award-winning series that mystery lovers can’t get enough of.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Mystery

Thunder Bay by William Kent Krueger, read by Jane, on 08/06/2013

From acclaimed author William Kent Krueger comes the seventh profound, action-packed suspense novel in his award-winning Cork O’Conner mystery series.The promise, as I remember it, happened this way.Happy and content in his hometown of Aurora, Minnesota, Cork O’Connor has left his badge behind and is ready for a life of relative peace, setting up shop as a private investigator. But his newfound state of calm is soon interrupted when Henry Meloux, the Ojibwe medicine man and Cork’s spiritual adviser, makes a request: Will Cork find the son that Henry fathered long ago?With little to go on, Cork uses his investigative skills to locate Henry Wellington, a wealthy and reclusive industrialist living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. When a murder attempt is made on old Meloux’s life, all clues point north across the border. But why would Wellington want his father dead? This question takes Cork on a journey through time as he unravels the story of Meloux’s 1920s adventure in the ore-rich wilderness of Canada, where his love for a beautiful woman, far outside his culture, led him into a trap of treachery, greed, and murder.The past and present collide along the rocky shores of Thunder Bay, where a father’s unconditional love is tested by a son’s deeply felt resentment, and where jealousy and revenge remain the code among men. As Cork hastens to uncover the truth and save his friend, he soon discovers that his own life is in danger and is reminded that the promises we keep – even for the best of friends – can sometimes place us in the hands of our worst enemies.

09. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Mystery

Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger, read by Jane, on 08/01/2013

Back on the beat as sheriff of Tamarack County, Cork O’Connor has already seen his beautiful Northwoods jurisdiction through an eventful summer. Now, as the chill of autumn sweeps through the countryside, he’s about to face a season of murder, adultery, and deceit that will take him from seedy backwoods bars and humble reservation shanties to the highest and most corrupt echelons of Chicago society. Lured to the nearby Ojibwe reservation on what appears to be a routine domestic disturbance call, Cork finds himself the target of a sniper’s deadly fire. He has little time to worry about his own precarious situation, however. Soon after the shooting, he’s called to investigate a mutilated body found perched above the raging waters of Mercy Falls. The victim is Eddie Jacoby, a Chicago businessman involved in negotiating an unpopular contract between his management firm and the local Indian casino. Now Cork must deal with a high-profile murder contaminated with the blood of the rich and powerful. Sparks fly when the wealthy Jacoby family insists on hiring a beautiful private investigator named Dina Willner to consult on the case. But once Cork discovers an old and passionate tie between one of the Jacoby sons and his own wife, Jo, he begins to suspect that the events in Aurora have a darker, more personal motive than he could ever have imagined. With his life at stake and the safety of his family in question, Cork must squelch the growing suspicion that another man desperately wants his wife, and at the same time resist the passion heating up between himself and Dina. Murder, greed, sex, and jealousy all play a part in the maze of danger and intrigue Cork is caught in. But somewhere, hidden beneath the turbulent depths of Mercy Falls, lie the answers, and Cork is determined to find them.

06. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Lisa, on 08/30/2013

The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure But the adventure they get isnt quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwicks sister has decided its time for him to start dating–and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan–a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. Its high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.

06. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Lisa, on 08/25/2013

When summer comes around, its off to the beach for Rosalind . . . and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend, Jeffrey.
That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick)–a terrifying notion for all, but for Skye especially. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage, with a rocky shore, enthusiastic seagulls, a just-right corner store, and a charming next-door neighbor. But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalinds directions about not letting Batty explode? Will Janes Love Survey come to a tragic conclusion after she meets the alluring Dominic? Is Batty–contrary to all accepted wisdom–the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune? And will Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls . . . these girls who are his second, and most heartfelt, family?
Its a rollicking ride as the Penderwicks continue their unforgettable adventures in a story filled with laughs and joyful tears.

06. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, read by Lisa, on 08/21/2013

Miss Pettigrew is about a governess sent by an employment agency to the wrong address, where she encounters a glamorous night-club singer, Miss LaFosse. ‘the sheer fun, the light-heartedness’ in this wonderful 1938 book ‘feels closer to a Fred Astair

06. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

The Ghost Sitter by Peni R. Griffin, read by Lisa, on 08/12/2013

For fifty years, ten-year-old Susie has waited for her parents and sister to come back. Each new family who moves into her home seems not to notice her, except for the young children. Susie likes children. She even likes baby-sitting, but can she baby-sit forever? Why can’t she get anyone else’s attention?

Charlotte is looking forward to a great summer in her new home, despite her many baby-sitting duties. But someone else seems to be helping her watch her little brother. Someone only he can see. Gradually Charlotte realizes her all-too-normal house is haunted-by the ghost of a girl who doesn’t or won’t realize that she’s dead.

Set around the Fourth of July, this story offers two perspectives-one of the living and one of the dead-in a wholly entertaining and thought-provoking way.