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

Eversea by Natasha Boyd, 358 pages, read by Jessica, on 12/26/2013

An orphaned, small-town, southern girl, held hostage by responsibility and self-doubt.

A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose.

A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him with her married and much older director, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation. But fate has other plans. Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

27. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Thriller/Suspense

Mistress by James Patterson, 448 pages, read by Jane, on 12/24/2013

James Patterson’s scariest, sexiest standalone thriller since The Quickie. Ben isn’t like most people. Unable to control his thoughts, he’s a man consumed by his obsessions: cars, tennis, marathons, trains, yachts-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.

But Ben quickly discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a dangerous double life. To her family, she’s a sweet Midwestern girl who helped her brother get clean. But in the political world of Washington DC, she’s a manipulative go-getter who uses her sexual prowess to get what she wants.

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.

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

Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger, 368 pages, read by Jane, on 12/19/2013

With his family caught in the crosshairs of a group of brutal killers, detective Cork O’Connor must solve the murder of a young girl in the latest installment of William Kent Krueger’s unforgettable New York Times bestselling series.

During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm.

Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl. She wasn’t killed by the storm, however; she’d been bound and tortured before she died. Whimpering sounds coming from outside the cabin lead them to a tangle of branches toppled by the vicious winds. Underneath the debris, they find a baby boy, hungry and dehydrated, but still very much alive. Powerful forces intent on securing the child pursue them to the isolated Northwest Angle, where it’s impossible to tell who among the residents is in league with the devil. Cork understands that to save his family he must solve the puzzle of this mysterious child whom death follows like a shadow.

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

Trickster's Point by William Kent Krueger, 336 pages, read by Jane, on 12/12/2013

The next novel in William Kent Krueger’s New York Times bestselling series finds Cork O’Connor sitting in the shadow of a towering monolith known as Trickster’s Point, deep in the Minnesota wilderness. With him is Jubal Little, who is favored to become the first Native American elected governor of Minnesota, and who is slowly dying with an arrow through his heart. Although the men have been bowhunting, a long-standing tradition among these two friends, this is no hunting accident. The arrow turns out to be one of Cork’s, and he becomes the primary suspect in the murder. He understands full well that he’s been set up. As he works to clear his name and track the real killer, he remembers his long, complex relationship with the tough kid who would grow up to become a professional football player, a populist politician, and the lover of the first woman to whom Cork ever gave his heart. Jubal was known by many for his passion, his loyalty, and his ambition. Only Cork knows that he was capable of murder.

Full of nail-biting suspense, plus a fascinating look into Cork’s teenage years in Aurora, a town blessed with natural beauty yet plagued by small-town feuds and heated racial tension, Trickster’s Point is a thrilling exploration of the motives, both good and ill, that lead men and women into the difficult, sometimes deadly, political arena.

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

Vermilion Drift by William Kent Krueger, 320 pages, read by Jane, on 12/05/2013

Some nights, Corcoran O’Connor dreams his father’s death. William Kent Krueger’s gripping tale of suspense begins with a recurring nightmare, a gun, and a wound in the earth so deep and horrific that it has a name, Vermilion Drift. When the Department of Energy puts an underground iron mine on its short list of potential sites for storage of nuclear waste, a barrage of protest erupts in Tamarack County, Minnesota, and Cork is hired as a security consultant. Deep in the mine during his first day on the job, Cork stumbles across a secret room that contains the remains of six murder victims. Five appear to be nearly half a century old;connected to what the media once dubbed “The Vanishings,” a series of unsolved disappearances in the summer of 1964, when Cork’s father was sheriff in Tamarack County. But the sixth has been dead less than a week. What’s worse, two of the bodies;including the most recent victim;were killed using Cork’s own gun, one handed down to him from his father. As Cork searches for answers, he must dig into his own past and that of his father, a well-respected man who harbored a ghastly truth. Time is running out, however. New threats surface, and unless Cork can unravel the tangled thread of clues quickly, more death is sure to come. Vermilion Drift is a powerful novel, filled with all the mystery and suspense for which Krueger has won so many awards. A poignant portrayal of the complexities of family life, it’s also a sobering reminder that even those closest to our hearts can house the darkest,and deadliest, of secrets.

27. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, Skottie Young (Illustrator), 114 pages, read by Angie, on 12/26/2013

Mom has gone away to a conference leaving dad in charge. She left instructions, but those don’t seem to be working out very well. It is breakfast time and there is no milk for the kids’ cereal and no milk for dad’s tea. So it is off to the store for dad. It takes ages and ages and when he finally gets back he has a story to tell. It involves aliens, dinosaurs, pirates, time travel, hot air balloons, pretty ponies, vampires and so much more. But the milk takes center stage in every aspect of the story and fortunately makes it home for the cereal and tea.

This is Neil Gaiman at his most irreverent and creative. It is a story that just gets more and more preposterous as it goes along. Dad is clearly making stuff up to make his prolonged trip seem more reasonable and he does a great job of it. I loved the rambling nature of the story and the pure silliness of it. The illustrations were wonderful and really helped bring the story to life. I can just imagine the kids listening to dad tell his story and rolling their eyes or breathlessly waiting for the next big thing to happen.

27. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Christian, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy

What the Cat Dragged In by Gilbert Morris, 250 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/07/2013

What the cat dragged inA clean mystery story that happens to have cats in it. Jacques does point the way to an important clue to solve the murder, but most of the story is spent setting up the characters and the location. This is the first in a trilogy so I’m hoping the next story moves faster.

 

27. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Christian, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy

The Cats Pajamas by Gilbert Morris, 251 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/22/2013

cats pajamasSecond book in the Jacques and Cleo mystery series. The cats are hired to “star” in a movie being made down the beach from where they live. Kate and Jake take the cats over to film and discover that the star of the movie, Avis is an old flame of Jake’s. When one of the young starlets is found dead, Jake is asked to assist the local police with the investigation. Can Jake find the clue to keep all of them safe from the murderer? Will he and Avis get back together? 

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags:

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, 517 pages, read by Kira, on 12/24/2013

Jonathan Stroud has done it again, actually this title is better than the Bartimaeus series (imho).  The Lockwood Investigative Company of ghost investigators burn down a house in the process of eliminating a problem specter haunting a house.  That’s when things get really interesting, when a wealthy CEO hires them to clean out a mansion where other larger & more experienced agencies have failed.  Join Lucy, George, and Anthony as they attempt to stay alive and solve this mystery.

A wonderful read – good plot, and delicious atmosphere, transports you to another London.

 

 

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26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Informational Book, Madeline, NonFiction

How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, 304 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/20/2013

Everyone knows someone who’s sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.

Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful it was when people read her right. She began talking to her fellow patients and dozens of other veterans of serious illness, seeking to discover what sick people wished their friends knew about how best to comfort, help, and even simply talk to them.

Now Pogrebin has distilled their collective stories and opinions into this wide-ranging compendium of pragmatic guidance and usable wisdom. Her advice is always infused with sensitivity, warmth, and humor. It is embedded in candid stories from her own and others’ journeys, and their sometimes imperfect interactions with well-meaning friends. How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick is an invaluable guidebook for anyone hoping to rise to the challenges of this most important and demanding passage of friendship.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Madeline, Multicultural Fiction

The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen, 352 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/16/2013

More than two decades after moving to Saudi Arabia and marrying powerful Abdullah Baylani, American-born Rosalie learns that her husband has taken a second wife. That discovery plunges their family into chaos as Rosalie grapples with leaving Saudi Arabia, her life, and her family behind. Meanwhile, Abdullah and Rosalie’s consuming personal entanglements blind them to the crisis approaching their sixteen-year-old son, Faisal, whose deepening resentment toward their lifestyle has led to his involvement with a controversial sheikh. When Faisal makes a choice that could destroy everything his embattled family holds dear, all must confront difficult truths as they fight to preserve what remains of their world.

“The Ruins of Us” is a timely story about intolerance, family, and the injustices we endure for love that heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new voice in contemporary fiction.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Madeline, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

Accused by Lisa Scottoline, 368 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/12/2013

Mary Dinuzio has just been promoted to partner and is about to take on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by a thirteen-year-old genius with a penchant for beekeeping.  Allegra Gardner’s sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; most damningly, Lonnie Stall pleaded guilty.  But Allegra believes Lonnie is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned. The Gardner family is one of the most powerful in the country and Allegra’s parents don’t believe in reopening the case, so taking it on is risky.  But the Rosato & Associates firm can never resist an underdog.  Was justice really served all those years ago?  It will take a team of unstoppable female lawyers, plus one thirteen-year-old genius, to find out.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Madeline, Romance

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani, 352 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/08/2013

For over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This historic business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the school teacher turned shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.

A piece of surprising news is revealed at The Feast of the Seven Fishes when Valentine and Gianluca join her extended family on a fateful Christmas Eve. Now faced with life altering choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: “A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything.” The proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves-the bitter and the sweetness of life itself.

Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, The Supreme Macaroni Company is a sumptuous feast of delights: a portrait of a woman and the man she loves, her passion for craftsmanship, and the sacrifices it takes to build and sustain a family business while keeping love and laughter at the center of everything.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Madeline, Romance

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, 369 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/02/2013

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy–but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common–a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

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

Tell Me by Lisa Jackson, 336 pages, read by Melody, on 12/23/2013

The most hated woman in Savannah, Georgia, is about to be set free. Twenty years ago, Blondell O’Henry was convicted of murdering her eldest daughter and wounding her two other children. The prosecution argued that beautiful, selfish Blondell wanted to be rid of them to be with her lover.

Now Blondell’s son, Niall, has recanted his testimony and demolished the case in the process. Reporter Nikki Gillette is determined to get the true story, and not just for professional reasons. Blondell’s murdered daughter, Amity, was Nikki’s childhood friend. The night she died, Amity begged Nikki to meet with her, insisting she had a secret to tell, but Nikki didn’t go. Her guilt is compounded by other complications–Nikki’s favorite uncle, Alexander, was the attorney who helped save Blondell from execution. And rumors swirl that he was one of her many lovers.

Nikki’s fiancé, Detective Pierce Reed, is concerned she may be compromising the case. As she digs for answers during one of the most sweltering summers in Savannah’s history, he also worries for her safety. Everyone involved seems to have secrets, from Blondell’s old boyfriend and his fundamentalist, snake-handling in-laws to the cop who led the original investigation. And somehow, the events of that tragic night connect to Nikki’s own fractured family. But now the killing has begun again. Is Amity’s murderer still at large, or is this a new, darker danger? Soon Nikki will discover what really happened twenty years ago, but the answers may come too late to save her life. . . “

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Forever Too Far by Abbi Glines, 292 pages, read by Jessica, on 12/23/2013

Rush promised her forever… but promises can be broken.

Torn between his love for his family and his love for Blaire, Rush has to find a way to save one without losing the other. In the end one has to be more important. Letting go isn’t easy.

Blaire believed in her fairytale… but no one can live in a fantasy.

Her love for Rush and desire to have a family keep her believing that they can find a way for this to work. Until she has to make the right decision for her and the baby. Even if it breaks her heart.

Can they find the forever that they both want or has it all just gone… too far?

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1) by Brandon Mull, 224 pages, read by Angie, on 12/21/2013

In the world of Erdas, on your 11th birthday, there is a ceremony to determine if you will receive a spirit animal. Four children take part in the ceremony in four different countries of the world. Each receives an animal, but not just any animal. They each receive one of the Great Fallen Beasts. Spirit animals that are not supposed to be given to children and whose return signals grave danger for the world. Many years ago there was a great war. A war among the Great Beasts. The evil was vanquished, but four beasts fell. Now the evil is rising again and the fallen are back. It is up to the Fallen and their human companions to save the world. But first they must come together and learn how to bond with their spirit animals. This is the first story of Conor, Abeke, Meilin and Rollan and the world of Erdas.

I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The story alternates between the four main characters. Each is different, dealing with different issues and with a different spirit animal. They must all make the choice of what path they will follow during this time of trouble. I liked the fact that they weren’t cookie cutter characters. There is room for a lot of growth in this story and a lot of exciting adventures. I think this is going to be a series kids will really respond to.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron, 384 pages, read by Angie, on 12/23/2013

We all know the story of Atlantis and its destructive end. Many stories have told that tale; however, few have told the beginning of the story. How did Atlantis come to be and what made it so special? Barron takes on that story in Atlantis Rising. In this version of the Atlantis story there is a magical land called Ellegandia. It is a country on the tip of Africa, but separated from the rest of the world by impenetrable cliffs and oceans. It is a land connected to the spirit realm and protected by it. Like in any good story there are villains. In this case, the religious elite are power hungry and greedy. Grukkar is a high priest and wants to rule the world and bring about change in the spirit realm. It is up to Promi, a street thief, and Atlanta, a girl with forest magic, to save the world. They must battle evil both on earth and in the spirit realm. They must figure out the meaning of a prophecy that seems to point to Promi. They must also find a way to stop the invading army and the blight on the forest that Grukkar has brought about.

I thought this book was interesting. I liked the different take on the Atlantis story; however, I thought it went a little long. I didn’t connect with characters and I thought the villain was very one dimensional and like so many others I have read about. I wanted a bit tighter story as I found myself getting bored and wanting the action to move a little quicker. I did appreciate the fact that the ending was not your typical happy ever after. Of course things turn out great, but not perfect and you know disaster is in Altantis’s future at some point. This would make a good series showing the history of Atlantis from beginning to end.

26. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

The Case of the Bug on the Run by Martha Freeman, 144 pages, read by Angie, on 12/24/2013

The first daughters have a new pet. They have adopted a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. There are also a lot of guests in the White House. When the cockroach goes missing for a few hours the girls know they have a new case. Who would take their new pet? What does the kidnapper want? And why would they return it with a bug to spy on them? Cammie and Tessa are on the case. They make a list of suspects and start their investigation. Will they figure it out before too much mischief is caused in the White House?

This is a good series for beginning chapter book readers. There is a lot of action and mystery and it is written at a level new readers can understand. I like the mix of mystery, humor and information in the book. The author includes a section on protesting at the White House to explain what that can accomplish since there are political protesters in the book. My only complaint is something that has been included in the entire series and one that probably doesn’t bother young readers. The kids always refer to “a nearby nation”. Not sure if it is Canada or Mexico or what, but I find it frustrating that they don’t just name the country.

23. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Christian, Fiction, Pamela · Tags:

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer, 183 pages, read by Pamela, on 12/21/2013

roseRose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War II—only to discover she’s an Englischer herself. Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.