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

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade by Stephanie Greene, read by Angie, on 10/28/2013

Posey is nervous about starting first grade. Her mom won’t walk her to her classroom; she will get dropped off in the “kiss and go” lane. She will have to walk down the long, blue hallway to her classroom by herself. She won’t be able to wear her favorite pink tutu. Everything turns out ok when Posey meets her teacher and she decides on a first grade parade in your favorite clothes for the first day of school. I think this is a great beginning chapter book. Posey deals with issues that other kids definitely have to deal with. She is spunky, but acts just like a real kid.

29. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Historical Fiction

Whistle in the Dark by Susan Hill Long, read by Angie, on 10/28/2013

Whistle in the Dark is the story of Clem, a 13-year-old boy in the Ozarks of Missouri, he is a good student and likes to read and write. Unfortunately, he is going to quit school and go to work in the mines. His pap and grampy were both miners and Clem is forced to follow in their footsteps. The family needs the money from another income because Grampy is sick with miners consumption and sister Esther has epilepsy and lots of hospital bills. It is 1925 and the mine is the only game in town for employment. Clem hates being underground; he wishes he could stay in school. The one shining point of his life is his dog Pal. Clem has always wanted a dog and Pal just appeared one day after his birthday. On his days off Clem and Pal explore the area and spend time with Lindy. Lindy is the daughter of a moonshiner, she has a horrible scar on her face and the other kids make fun of her. Clem and Lindy develop a deep friendship that just grows with time.

Whistle in the Dark is a pretty decent historical fiction book for kids. It describes a life many kids today have no knowledge of. It is unheard of that you would leave school and start working at 13 today. I really enjoyed his friendship with Lindy and how that had the potential to develop into something more. I think it was Esther who really made the story. As sick as she was, she was always positive and brought light into Clem’s dark life. There is definitely a happy-ever-after quality to the end of this book. Things work out wonderfully for everyone; maybe a little unbelievable but works for kids books.

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

The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems by Lauren Myracle, Jed Henry (Illustrations), read by Angie, on 10/28/2013

Ty has problems. He is not the center of attention in his family anymore. Baby Meggie is taking all of mom’s time and Ty is feeling left out. Life at school isn’t any better. His best friend is in the hospital with cancer and he has to hang out with other kids. Ty wanders off on a field trip and ends up taking a baby penguin home from the aquarium. His older sister come to the rescue and mom agrees to spend more time with him. There needs to be more beginning chapter books for boys, but I am not sure this is the best one. I didn’t find Ty all that likeable or realistic. I did think the home life problems with the new baby were pretty typical though. The penguin was just silly and crazy. Kids might enjoy this one but it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites.

29. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Drama, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin, Science Fiction

Risked: Book 6 in The Missing Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, read by Kristin, on 10/25/2013

As soon as I saw this on the new book shelf, I snatched it up.  I read books 1-5 in a couple weeks around Easter and was excited to see that Book 6 was out.

General premise of the series: Famous children from history have been kidnapped during their own time and taken to the future to be adopted. Guardians of time are trying to return those kids to the time they belong and “fix” the wrinkles in time.

Jonah, along with his sister, Katherine, and best friend, Chip, and two other children get taken back to 1918 where they discover that the two kids with them are really Alexei and Anastasia Romanov and they have arrived hours before the entire Romanov family is going to be executed.

Will they be able to repair the time rift and still save the two Romanovs so they can continue their lives in the 21st century?

I was sort of hoping that this book would wrap up the series, but unfortunately Jonah still does not know his true identity from history.  I have enjoyed the series, but I thought this book lacked some of the period detail that the previous books contained.  Still, Risked is a good book and if you are a fan of futuristic books, then The Missing series is a must read.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristin · Tags:

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose, read by Kristin, on 10/26/2013

First impression, the style of the book drove me nuts!  The story is written in the form of a poem: short lines, stanzas, etc.  Seriously, it took me two-thirds of the way through the book to get used to it.  That being said, it was a quick read.  I read it aloud to my daughter in 2 hours in one sitting.

Mavis Betterly, May, has a few problems.  She doesn’t do well in school and she wants to be a teacher. Her parents have pulled her from school and hired her out to another family.  The couple leaves her and she is forced to survive on her own for 5 months until her father is supposed to come and pick her up for Christmas.

May does a good deal of growing up in the time she’s alone and eventually decides that she is in charge of what happens to her.

I like the idea of the story.  It is set in Kansas as the West is being settled in the late 1800’s.  The story has kind of a Little House on the Prairie vibe, which I like and May is a strong character.  These are the selling points.  The format took away from the story in my opinion.  I wish I had picked up the audio version.  I think I would’ve liked it better.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Pamela, Romance, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton, read by Pamela, on 10/24/2013

YankeeIn “Yankee Doodle Dixie” Leelee Satterfield returns to Memphis, Tennessee, hoping to start life over after the Vermont debacle of a year ago with ex-husband Baker.  After landing a job she thought she’d fit right into and oohing and aahing over a rock star, as well as going to New York to spend a weekend with him, Leelee finally decides to do what made her a success in Vermont.  She rejuvenates the Peach Blossom Inn.  And, just in time, she finds the ‘perfect’ chef to make her Memphis restaurant a Yankee Doodle Dixie success.

This sequel to “Whistlin’ Dixie in a nor’easter” does not disappoint.  The southern dialogue, Leelee’s best girlfriends, and the situations they get into keep up the drama that the first installment of this series delivered with wit and charm.  It’s a light and entertaining read with laughs throughout.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kristin

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lutricia Clifton, read by Kristin, on 10/12/2013

Frankie Joe finds himself in a tough situation.  His mother is in jail and his father just packed him up and moved him halfway across the country to live with his step-mom and 4 half-brothers.  Frankie Joe seems to think that he’s never quite good enough in his new family’s eyes and his new “brothers” dislike him, especially the oldest.  He devises a way to earn money by starting a delivery service so he can finance his way back to his mom and his friends in Texas.  Before he has a chance to put his plan into action, he realizes that maybe this place isn’t so bad after all.

I enjoyed this book.  It’s easy to read and feel sympathy for Frankie Joe.  He is placed in a situation that kids may find themselves in (hopefully not because one parent is in jail, but moving in with a parent that they may not have had contact with previously).  Frankie Joe goes through the grief process in dealing with the loss of his mother and eventually realizes that his new situation is for the best.

I think a lot of kids would identify with Frankie Joe and would enjoy the book.

 

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

The Wager: The Bet Series 2 by Rachel Van Dyken, read by Nikki, on 10/28/2013

The WagerWhat is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they’ve been thrown together in a wedding party. It’s awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she’d always hoped he could be.

If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend’s other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn’t forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake’s already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake’s falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen, read by Nikki, on 10/24/2013

Temptation of Lila and EthanOn the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She’ll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there’s only one person who’s there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn’t do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila’s pretty princess image, Ethan can’t deny they have a deeper connection than he’s used to. If he’s not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he’s learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, read by Kira, on 10/26/2013

Another wondocean enderful tale by Neil Gaiman.  The 7 year old protagonist has his world turned upside down and inside out, when malignant forces seep/invade his world.  At the end of the Lane is the Hempstock farmhouse live the 3 crones who protect the world and keep problematic forces where they belong.

I foundNEIL GAIMAN.indd it delightful how central books were to the protagonists life, the part about jumping into trees or onto poles, reminded me of myself, I thought jumping into a tree would be quite feasible, though I’d never seen a real person do so.  I wonder at Gaiman’s connection to his parents during Gaiman_McKean_OceansAtTheEnd_1childhood, given that so many of Gaiman’s tales feature disconnected parents.  Especially since the dedication to his new wife Amanda Palmer, something to the effect – so you can understaocean end lanend … hmmm.

At the end of the novel, I had to return to the beginning chapter in an attempt to fill in a couple blanks.  Was it his Father’s funeral?

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Pretenders by Lisi Harrison, read by Sarah, on 10/17/2013

This book is told through journal entries from 5 different people attending high school during their freshman year.  Each one of them has an interesting back story that leads them to intertwine with the others.  Secret crushes (and obsessions!), a gay friend, movie-star wanna-be’s, basketball stars, hurt feelings, muddled grades, previous home-schooled experience….these kids have a lot on their plates.  AND they are each pretending to have it all together on the outside, while things are really falling apart.

This was a pretty good book, but confusing to keep track of who was talking during each chapter.  There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to the order of their freshman year being told out during the book.  The ending is a cliff hanger that screams for a sequel, so if you can’t stand to wait….read this after the next one comes out!!

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

Before She Dies by Mary Burton, read by Melody, on 10/28/2013

In death, they are purified. Holding his victims under water, he washes away their sins as they struggle for their last breath. Then he stakes their bodies to the ground, exposing them for what they really are. Witches, sent to tempt and to corrupt.

No one knows about defense attorney Charlotte Wellington’s murdered sister, or about her childhood spent with the carnival that’s just arrived in town. For Charlotte, what’s past is past.

But others don’t agree. And as a madman’s body count rises, she and Detective Daniel Rokov are drawn into a mission that’s become terrifyingly personal.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Pinch Hit by Tim Green, read by Angie, on 10/27/2013

Trevor is a big time movie star who dreams of playing baseball. Sam plays baseball all the time and dreams of making it to the big leagues. One day Sam accompanies his dad, a budding screenwriter, to the studio. He signs up at central casting and his immediately hired as a body double because he looks just like Trevor. Sam and Trevor are amazed at how much they look alike and realize they may be twins. They concoct a plan to switch places for a week. Trevor finally gets to play real baseball, but soon learns that a batting cage is not the same thing as playing against real people on a real team. Sam finds out that the glamorous life of a movie star is awesome, but kind of lonely. Sam decides to use Trevor’s resources to find out who their birth parents were. Trevor isn’t really behind the idea, but lets Sam go ahead.

This book illustrates the fact that there really are only so many stories out there. Parent Trap anyone? I’m not sure how I really feel about the long lost twins story; I know I found it to be the weakest part of the book mainly because of how their backstory ended up (oh wait there was no backstory!). I did like the fish out of water aspect of the book and the fact that it wasn’t all about baseball. I found it pretty unrealistic how easily Sam and Trevor fit into each other’s lives and how they were able to become the other for those around them. Despite all that it was a fun book to read and I think kids will enjoy it.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction, Science

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker, read by Angie, on 10/26/2013

Dead people are fascinating. Long dead people are a puzzle. Figuring out who skeletons were is a fascinating puzzle. This book by Sally Walker investigates the graves in and around the Chesapeake Bay. All the graves date from the 17th century and were some of the first people in the Jamestown colony. It is amazing what scientists can find out about people just from looking at their bones. Teeth have ridges: must have used some corrosive materials to clean them. Buried in a trash pit under a house: must have been an indentured servant who died. Small holes in bones: must have had rickets. Archaeologists are even able to figure out who exactly a person was just by where and how they were buried. This book highlights how graves are found and excavated, the steps taken to preserve the remains and what is learned from them. If you are a fan of CSI or Bones, you will definitely appreciate the science of this book.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves, read by Jessica, on 10/27/2013

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

28. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen, read by Jessica, on 10/26/2013

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She’ll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there’s only one person who’s there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn’t do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila’s pretty princess image, Ethan can’t deny they have a deeper connection than he’s used to. If he’s not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he’s learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

25. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Melody, Romance

This side of Heaven by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 10/24/2013

Defiantly beautiful, Caroline Wetherby stepped ashore in a land so wild and fierce, she trembled.  She had come seeking refuge with the last of her family, but her sister was dead.  Waiting to greet her were pious Pilgrims, warring Indians, howling wolves, a boisterous household of men and boys…and him, her rugged, unwelcoming brother-in-law, Matt Mathieson.  Caroline wanted to hate Matt as she hated all men.

After her father’s death, she’d been eager to escape England.  But as daughter of a gambler and a gypsy, her flamboyant ways and healing skills tempted disaster in the sanctimonious Connecticut Colony.  And putting herself in the hands of a big, handsome stranger tempted something far more dangerous–emotions she couldn’t resist, kisses she couldn’t forget, and a future that could bring ruin…or a journey to heaven on earth in his arms.

24. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland, read by Nikki, on 10/18/2013

Worth the FightIt didn’t matter that the ref called it a clean hit. Nico Hunter would never be the same.

Elle has a good life. A job she loves, a great apartment, and the guy she’s been dating for more than two years is a catch and a half. But it’s boring…and she strives to keep it that way. Too many emotions are dangerous. Her own past is living proof of what can happen when you lose control.

Then Nico walks into Elle’s office and everything changes…for both of them. But what can the tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and the beautiful and always steady attorney have in common? A lot more than they bargained for.

 

24. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Naked by Raine Miller, read by Nikki, on 10/11/2013

NakedBrynne Bennett is living in London going to college. She models every now and then for artist to make extra cash. At one of the artists show she meets Ethan Blackstone. He buys her nude portrait and begins to pursuit her. Brynne tries to keep her distance and stay away from him, but eventually falls for him. Then she finds out that her father actually hired Ethan as a sort of security guard. So Brynne breaks it off.

Now, don’t let the title of this book fool you into thinking it’s going to be great, or the first set of amazing reviews on Amazon. Don’t be me. Don’t fall for that! If I could get online and rate a book zero stars, that’s exactly what I would do right now.

24. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Carter Reed by Tijan, read by Nikki, on 10/03/2013

Carter ReedEmma has just walked in on her roommate and best friend being raped by her friends boyfriend, who just so happens to be a member of the mafia. Emma can either turn around and walk away, or take the gun she has and shoot the boyfriend. Emma decides to shoot the boyfriend and then try to hide out so that the mafia family doesn’t find her and kill her. Only she has no where really to go. So she turns to her brothers best friend Carter Reed. Carter is also in the mafia (a different family), and takes her in to protect her. Then of course love sprouts and they have glorious sex.

This book was packed full of drama, action and of course sex. My kind of book!