31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Kira, NonFiction, Self Help

Creative visualization : use the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life by Shakti Gawain , 128 pages, read by Kira, on 01/27/2014

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A pioneer in the world consciousness effort, Shakti Gawain details the practical technique of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive life changes.  creative-visualization-complete-book-on-tape-shakti-gawain-audio-cover-artThis includes the Pink Bubble Technique, Grounding and Runnbook covering Energy.  I find these exercises very useful and recommend work by Shakti Gawain.Visualization

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks, 465 pages, read by Kira, on 01/30/2014

something missingMartin a career criminal with OCD, only steals items that won’t be missed.  Food, cleaning supplies, and higher end pieces, like good thiefjewelry that hasn’tsomething_missing_coer been used or silver.  He likes his “clients” and when he accidentally knocks a toothbrush in the toilet, he is unable to just wash it off, but rather replaces it, which leads him to his first good deed.  He begins to think that maybe he is meant to be in these houses for more than personal acquisitions.

Something missing refers to both the items in people’s homes as well as relationships in Martin’s life.

good thief2

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Dark Life by Kat Falls, 297 pages, read by Eric, on 01/31/2014

Rising oceans put much of the Earth’s coastline under water, and the land-based world survives in overpopulated towers. Meanwhile, humanity spreads to the sea, creating a homesteading society on the seafloor. When Ty, a homesteader teen, stumbles across Gemma, an orphan teen from topside, he soon is embroiled in a search for her brother, and mixed up with the Seablite Gang.

I’ve always enjoy underwater sci-fi, and so appreciate the society Falls has created here. The homes and lifestyle of the families on the ocean floor are interesting and believable, and a great backdrop for the adventure/mystery plot the teens are tossed into. The Seablite Gang may seem straight out of an anime series, but considering the setting, this isn’t a bad thing. A great start to a series, and one I’m looking forward to following. Recommended.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Judy, Mystery

Larceny and Old Lace by Tamar Myers, 211 pages, read by Judy, on 01/31/2014

As owner of the Den of Antiquity, recently divorced (but never bitter!) Abigail Timberlake is accustomed to delving into the past, searching for lost treasurers and navigating the cutthroat world of rival dealers at flea markets and auctions.     Still, she never thought she’d be putting her expertise in mayhem and detection to other use until crotchety “junque” dealer, Abbey’s Aunt Eulonia Wiggins, was found murdered!

Although Abigail is puzzled by the instrument of death, an exquisite antique bell pull that Aunt Eulonia never would have had the taste to acquire, she’s willing to let the authorities find the culprit.      But now, Auntie’s priceless lace collection is missing, and somebody’s threatened Abby’s most priceless possession:  her son, Charlie.   It’s up to Abby to put the murdered “on the block”.

This is a great murder mystery with a little southern humor throughout the book.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa

The yellow eyes of crocodiles by Katherine Pancol, William Rodarmor (Translation), Helen Dickinson (Translation), 464 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/27/2014

When her chronically unemployed husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress, Joséphine Cortès is left in an unhappy state of affairs. The mother of two—confident, beautiful teenage Hortense and shy, babyish Zoé—is forced to maintain a stable family life while making ends meet on her meager salary as a medieval history scholar. Meanwhile, Joséphine’s charismatic sister Iris seems to have it all—a wealthy husband, gorgeous looks, and a très chic Paris address—but she dreams of bringing meaning back into her life. When Iris charms a famous publisher into offering her a lucrative deal for a twelfth-century romance, she offers her sister a deal of her own: Joséphine will write the novel and pocket all the proceeds, but the book will be published under Iris’s name. All is well—that is, until the book becomes the literary sensation of the season.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, 384 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/22/2014

In the tradition of Out of My MindWonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life… until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

A Necessary End by Peter Robinson, 372 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/20/2014

In the usually peaceful town of Eastvale, a simmering tension has now reached breaking point. An anti-nuclear demonstration has ended in violence, leaving one policeman stabbed to death. Fired by professional outrage, Superintendent ‘Dirty Dick’ Burgess descends with vengeful fury on the inhabitants of ‘Maggie’s Farm’, an isolated house high on the daleside. Inspector Banks is uneasy about Burgess’s handling of the investigation. But he has been warned off the case. Soon Banks realises that the only way he can salvage his career is by beating Burgess to the killer.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

Rodzina by Karen Cushman, 224 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/17/2014

In 1881, 12-year-old Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski wishes she didn’t have to board the orphan train in Chicago. But she has no home, no family, and no choice. Rodzina doesn’t believe the orphans are on their way out West to be adopted by good families. She’s sure they will become slaves to strangers. Anyway, who would ever adopt a large, tough, stubborn girl of Polish origin? As the train heads west, all Rodzina has is a small suitcase and her family memories from the past. Will Rodzina ever step off the train to find the family that deep in her heart she’s searching for?

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur, 240 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/10/2014

“I’m obsessed with abandoned things.” Siena’s obsession began a year and a half ago, around the time her two-year-old brother Lucca stopped talking. Now Mom and Dad are moving the family from Brooklyn to Maine hoping that it will mean a  whole new start for Lucca and Siena. She soon realizes that their wonderful old house on the beach holds secrets. When Siena writes in her diary with an old pen she found in her closet, the pen writes its own story, of Sarah and Joshua, a brother and sister who lived in the same house during World War II. As the two stories unfold, amazing parallels begin to appear, and Siena senses that Sarah and Joshua’s story might contain the key to unlocking Lucca’s voice.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Below by Meg McKinlay, 224 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/03/2014

Secrets have a way of floating to the surface. . . . Mystery, compelling characters, and an abandoned town beneath a lake make for a must-read adventure.

On the day Cassie was born, they drowned her town. The mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools’ worth of water. Now, twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides — and she’s not the only one. Her classmate Liam, who wears oversized swim trunks to cover the scars on his legs, joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake. As the summer heats up, the water drops lower and lower, offering them glimpses of the ghostly town and uncovering secrets one prominent town figure seems anxious to keep submerged. But like a swimmer who ventures too far from shore, Cassie realizes she can’t turn back. Can she bring their suspicions to light before it’s too late — and does she dare?

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

EllRay Jakes the Dragon Slayer by Sally Warner, 144 pages, read by Angie, on 01/30/2014

EllRay Jakes’s little sister Alfie has a problem. Suzette Monahan has been mean to Alfie and causing all the other girls to be mean as well. EllRay tries to get Alfie to stand up for herself, but that doesn’t work. So he decides to take matter into his own hands and teach bully Suzette a lesson. This is a pretty decent beginning chapter book about bullying. It shows both sides of the issue with Suzette’s bullying of Alfie and EllRay’s bullying of Suzette. There are also some other instances of kids picking on others which could also be construed as bullying. I liked the fact that EllRay and his family are African American since there aren’t a lot of beginning chapter books featuring non-white characters. I think it is important to show diversity in books so kids can identify with the characters they are reading about.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Jinx by Sage Blackwood, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 01/30/2014

Jinx goes to live with Wizard Simon after his stepfather tries to leave him in the Urwald. The Urwald is a forest filled with clearings where people live, the path that you must not stray from, and lots of forest filled with trolls and werewolves and witches and wizards. Even though Simon is a wizard, Jinx has plenty to eat and Simon takes care of him, he is even teaching him about magic. Jinx has magic of his own; he can see the emotions of others and hear the trees of the Urwald. Then one day Simon goes too far and does a spell that takes away Jinx’s magic. Jinx leaves Simon and wonders into the Urwald where he finds two other children with curses of their own. Reven can’t tell you anything about himself that would reveal who he really is. Elfwyn can’t tell a lie; if you ask her a question she must speak the truth. Together they set out across the Urwald and stumble upon the Bonemaster, an evil wizard who keeps them prisoner. They must figure out how to escape from him and to take away his source of power.

Jinx is one of the better middle grade fantasy novels I have read in a while. It takes parts of legends and fairytales and weaves it all together into a new story about a different land. What I enjoyed most was that it doesn’t explain everything or solve every problem. This leaves it open for more books in the series, but it in no way diminishes this story. It is creative and imaginative and just plain fun to read. More than anything this is a story about coming to terms with who you are and what you are or aren’t willing to do. It is a story about family and friendship and the magic that connects us.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira

Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne/Gary Gianni, 64 pages, read by Kira, on 01/24/2014

Trapped in an Underwatjules verneer Vessel with a Brilliant Mad Misanthrope!  that about sums it up.  Since our challenge this month was classics, and I haven’t tried many graphic novels, I thought I’d give this book a go.  This is my 2nd or 3rd graphic novel, and I find I don’t get much out of these [though as a kid, some of the Classic Comics really brought to life some of the classics, but others didn’t work].  On top of the limited plot-line the artwork was dreary, you could have had some beautiful underwater scenes, for example of Atlantis or the cool fish.    But No.

 

 

 

 

 

20-000-leagues-under-the-sea-original

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

ENVY by SANDRA BROWN, 549 pages, read by Judy, on 01/17/2014

When New York publisher Maris Matherly Reed receives a tantalizing manuscript from someone identified only as P.M.E., its blockbuster potential and perhaps something else compels her to meet its author.  On an eerie, ruined cotton plantation on a remote Georgia island she finds Parker Evans, a man concealing his identify and his past.   Maris is drawn into his tale of two young friends and a deadly betrayal and to Parker himself.   But there’s something especially chilling about this novel, its possible connection to Maris’s own life, and the real-life character who uses her, or anyone, to get what he wants.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

The Switch by Sandra Brown, 550 pages, read by Judy, on 01/29/2014

Identical twins Melina and Gillian Lloyd haven’t considered switching places since childhood.  So when Melina proposes that Gillian take her place as a media escort to NASA astronaut Col. “Chief” Hart, she refuses at first.    The following morning Melina receives terrible news: Her sister has been brutally murdered and the Chief, though innocent, is the prime suspect.      He and Melina are determined to find the killer, a megalomaniac who’s out for blood and won’t stop with just Gillian.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown, 500 pages, read by Judy, on 01/06/2014

Bellamy was only twelve years old when her older sister, Susan, was killed on a stormy Memorial Day.  A tornado destroyed the crime scene along with Bellamy’s memory of what really happened.  Now, eighteen years later, Bellamy has penned a bestselling novel based on Susan’s murder, and to protect her family, she published it under a pseudonym.  But when Bellamy’s identity is exposed, she becomes the target of an unnamed assailant who is out for vengeance.  In order to identify her stalker, Bellamy must confront the ghosts of her past, including Dent Carter, Susan’s wayward boyfriend and an original suspect in the murder case.     As Bellamy delves deeper into the mystery, she discovers elements of the crime that call into question the people she holds most dear.    Though haunted by partial memories and conflicted over her feelings for Dent, she won’t stop until she reveals Susan’s killer.   That is, unless her killer strikes. first.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Books can be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay, 291 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/18/2014

books can be deceivingLindsey is finally adjusting to her new job as the director of the Brian Creek Public Library and her new life as a single woman. Her college friend and children’s librarian Beth has written and illustrated her first children’s book and wants to find out if it’s good enough to be published. But Beth’s boyfriend an award-winning children’s book author keeps getting in the way. Then a New York City book editor visits town and a friend arranges for the editor, Beth and Lindsey to met. But things go wrong rapidly and Beth’s chance at becoming a published author lands here as the chief suspect in her boyfriend’s murder. Can Lindsey solve the mystery fast enough to find the real murderer?

A light cozy mystery.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

100 Cats who Changed Civilization: History's most Influential Felines by Sam Stall, 175 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/09/2014

100 cats True stories about cats that created laws, inspired their owners or were present at historical moments. Each story is about a different cat and ranges from 1 to 3 pages in length. Quick fun read for cat lovers, history lovers or trivia nuts.

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

A Christmas carol in prose : being a ghost story of Christmas by Charles Dickens, 129 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/08/2014

christmas carol The classic Christmas tale of one man’s journey to learn what’s really important in life and how just one person does matter. With four ghosts, sweet Tiny Tim even though this story is set in Victorian England it contains important lessons and reminders for all of us. God Bless Us One and All!

30. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Inspirational, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

For Everything a Season: Simple Musings on Living Well (Porch Talk series #4) by Philip Gulley, 220 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/12/2014

for everythingAuthor Philip Gulley started writing by doing newsletter essays for his twelve member Quaker congregation in Indiana. Much to his surprise one found its way to radio commentator Paul Harvey Jr., and was read on the air to 24 million listeners. Now he has fourteen books in print including this collection of his newsletter essays.