24. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Happy by Grant Morrison, read by Brian, on 02/13/2014

Grant Morrison, known more for Batman graphic books, has written a series entitled, Happy!  It’s about a corrupt cop/hit-man, Nick Sax, who’s drunken life has led him down a path of destruction.  After a hit goes wrong and Nick is shot in the side, he has to evade both the cops and mob and at the same time track down an insane Santa.  Nick is encouraged along his journey by a tiny blue horse called, Happy!happy

24. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Theodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham, read by Angie, on 02/23/2014

The Activist is the fourth in the Theodore Boone series. In this book, a bypass is proposed for the city of Strattenburg. The bypass will go through several houses and farms, cross the river twice, and go right by an elementary school and soccer complex. Theo becomes an activist against the bypass. He enlists the help of his friends to put a stop to this unnecessary project.

I am not really a fan of John Grisham or really any adult author who tries to make a buck on the youth market. However, I know this series has its fans and it wasn’t all bad. I am not sure how interested kids will be in a story about eminent domain and local politics, but there are enough exciting bits to make it a worthwhile read. On a scouting trip a foolish boy gets bit by a snake and Theo’s dog Judge gets attacked and nearly killed.

I think my big problem with this book was the fact that the kids don’t talk or act like regular kids. These characters are supposed to be in 8th grade, but they are like no 8th graders I have ever met. I also thought it was a poor way to describe activists to have Theo not know what they are. This is a kid who is very knowledgeable of the law, knows what eminent domain is, but has no idea what an activist is? Didn’t buy it. The ending is also a little bit too perfect in my opinion. I will admit that I did want to find out how the story ended and that it kept my attention throughout, but it just wasn’t my favorite.

23. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Call Me Amy by Marcia Strykowski, read by Angie, on 02/20/2014

Amy is a bit of a loner with no friends. Then she starts hanging out at Miss Cogshell’s house. Craig is not a loner, but he doesn’t seem to have any true friends. When Craig finds a baby seal he asks Amy for help. They end up taking care of the seal pup at Miss Cogshell’s house and become attached to each other. This is a story about friendship and responsibility and finding your place in the world.

23. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt, read by Angie, on 02/20/2014

Julian did something that got him suspended from school. He doesn’t want to talk about it though. When he gets in trouble again his English teacher makes him take on a journal project. He has to write every day and turn it in to his teacher. Julian talks about his friends and the neighborhood and school and girls, but he still won’t talk about what happened over Christmas break.

I actually liked this story a lot more than I thought I would. Julian is a very likable character even if he does seem to just go along with his friends. I thought all the nicknames the kids had were pretty funny and it made me wonder if kids actually did give each other nicknames like that in the 1960s. I really liked Julian’s growth in this book. It seems he really comes to accept who he is and what he has done. I thought the girl part was a little ridiculous, but it added a lot of humor to the story. I think this is a story kids are really going to relate to. Who hasn’t done something they regret and wanted to forget about?

23. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg, read by Angie, on 02/21/2014

Serafina dreams of being a doctor, but unfortunately she doesn’t even go to school. Her family is very poor, living in Haiti, and she is needed at home to help her mom and grandma. A flash flood wipes out their home and village so the family has to move to another part of the island and rebuild. Soon after an earthquake strikes as well. Serafina is on her own after the earthquake trying to find her family.

I really enjoy novels in verse. I like the fact that authors have to get their story told using so few words. I think Serafina’s story is a good one. You can feel her desire to go to school and her fear when she is on her own after the earthquake. I am assuming this story is set during the recent earthquake in Haiti, but there is no exact date given and it could be at any point in the last century. This is a powerful story and a really enjoyable read.

23. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry, read by Angie, on 02/21/2014

Judith and her best friend Lottie disappeared. Lottie’s body was found and Judith came back with her tongue cut out two years later. Judith has to deal with her mother and brother’s contempt and the contempt of the people in her village. She keeps her silence and hasn’t told anyone what happened to her. Then her village is attacked and the one person who can help them is the man who kept her prisoner. Judith pours out her heart to Lucas, her childhood love, but only in her head. It is only after she makes a friend and decides to learn to speak again that Judith comes out of her shell.

This was a book I didn’t want to put down. Judith’s story is given out in little bits throughout the book and you are never really sure what happened to her. She is treated like a pariah in her village because she doesn’t speak, but once she finds her courage and her voice things are different. My only beef with this book was the fact that the time and place was so vague. It seemed to be Puritan New England, but that is never specified. However, I really enjoyed Judith and Lucas’s story and how their relationship grew throughout the book.

23. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus, read by Angie, on 02/21/2014

Gregory comes from a family of mathematicians and her really doesn’t like math. He is the oddball in his family and no one seems to understand him. For Gregory loves writing, poetry specifically. He and his best friend Kelly love to write together and share what they have written. In order to pass his math class and appease his family he has to keep a journal where he writes about math and his life. He also enters the citywide math contest. Gregory learns about the Fibonacci Sequence and decides to do his project on it. But he doesn’t do a traditional math project; he decides to write poems based on the Fibonacci Sequence, which he calls fibs.

Full disclosure, I am not a math person. So a book about math really wasn’t my thing. However, I did like Gregory’s story and how he had to overcome his math deficiencies and find his place in his family. I liked his friendship with Kelly, but didn’t think it was ever fully explained why she and her mom were moving away. It almost seemed like there had to be some tension other than math and the author decided that the best friend leaving was perfect. I think this book will find an audience with the math nerds and the word geeks among readers.

23. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Doll Bones by Holly Black, read by Angie, on 02/21/2014

Zach, Poppy and Alice are best friends who like to play games full of imagination and story. Their stories usually center around The Queen, who is a old doll in a glass case in Poppy’s house. One day Poppy decides to take her out of the case and the doll starts speaking to her. It turns out the doll is made of bone china using the bones of a little girl named Eleanor. The three friends head out on a quest to return Eleanor to her grave.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Zach, Alice and Poppy; it was nice to see boys and girls as friends. I do wish they wouldn’t have included the love interest bit, but overall it was a good friendship that can overcome disagreements and quests. I thought Eleanor’s story was creepy and spooky. I loved how the kids figured it out (using the library). Fun, little mystery story.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Sweet Home by Tillie Cole, read by Jessica, on 02/19/2014

At age twenty, Molly Shakespeare knows a lot.

She knows Descartes and Kant.

She knows academia and Oxford.

She knows that the people who love you leave you.

She knows how to be alone.

But when Molly leaves England’s grey skies behind to start a new life at the University of Alabama, she finds that she has a lot to learn — she didn’t know a summer could be so hot, she didn’t know students could be so intimidating, and she certainly didn’t know just how much the folks of Alabama love their football.

When a chance encounter with notorious star quarterback, Romeo Prince, leaves her unable to think of anything but his chocolate-brown eyes, dirty-blond hair and perfect physique, Molly soon realises that her quiet, solitary life is about to dramatically change forever…

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George, read by Angie, on 02/19/2014

Castle Glower is alive and it has a mind of its own. It can change its rooms, make new ones and kick you out if it doesn’t like you. It also chooses who will rule the kingdom. And it has chosen Celie’s family as the current ruling family for ten generations. Celie loves Castle Glower; she has been mapping it her whole life and she knows the Castle better than anyone. She is the youngest of the royal children and one of those left at home when the King and Queen go off to bring the oldest son Bran home from the School of Wizardry. Celie along with Rolf and Lilah must take care of things while they are gone. Then word comes that the King, Queen, Bran and most of their party have been ambushed and killed. Suddenly the castle is in an uproar. Their are foreign princes and the royal council interfering in the children’s business and trying to take over the kingdom. It is up to them and the Castle to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I am a sucker for fairy tales like this and I have to admit that this one enchanted me from the beginning. I loved Celie and I loved Castle Glower. They are really the heart of this story. Celie is smart and spunky and loyal. Rolf and Lilah are too, but they didn’t quite capture my heart the way Celie did. I loved the relationship between the siblings though. They each had their own personalities that worked well off each other. I really enjoyed how they plotted to overcome all the bad guys trying to take over the kingdom and the Castle. And I have to say that I really want to live in a castle that will work with you and against your enemies.

I would recommend this to anyone really because I enjoyed it that much. It was an enchanting book full of adventure and magic and mystery…and a moving castle!

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente, read by Angie, on 02/19/2014

This is what I learned from this book:

A proper Empire wants a border and currency and some who are high and some who are low. And a really proper Empire, the best and most enviable kind of Empire, has Criminals. You’re not doing Empire right if there aren’t loads of people who don’t like it one bit!

A silent Library is a sad Library. A Library without patrons on whom to pile books and tales and knowing and magazines full of up-to-the-minute politickal fashions and atlases and plays in pentameter! A Library should be full of exclamations! Shouts of delight and horror as the wonders of the world are discovered or the lies of the heavens uncovered or the wild adventures of devil-knows-who sent romping out of the pages. A Library should be full of now-just-a-minutes and that-can’t-be-rights and scientifick folk running skelter to prove somebody wrong. It should positively vibrate with laughing at comedies and sobbing at tragedies, it should echo with gasps as decent ladies glimpse indecent things and indecent ladies stumble upon secret and scandalous decencies! A Library should not shush; it should roar!

Oh, every place has a Pluto! It’s where a universe keeps the polar bears and last year’s pickled entropy and the spare gravity. You need a Pluto or you’re hardly a universe at all. Plutos teach lessons. A lesson is like a time-traveling argument. Because, you see, you can’t argue until you’ve had the lesson or else you’re just squabbling with your own ignorance. But a lesson is really just the result of arguments other people had ages ago! You have to sit still and pay attention and pantomime their arguments over again until you’re so sick of their prattle that you pipe up to have your own. You can’t learn anything without arguing.

Going straight in a line to anything is the saddest path.

Blood is a word that means alive. You can do without almost anything: arms, legs, teeth, hope. But you can’t do without blood. Life eats life. Blood makes you move, makes you blush, makes the pulse pound in your brow when you see your love walking across a street toward you, makes you r very thoughts fly through your brain. Blood is everything and everything is blood.

Living is a paragraph, constantly rewritten. It is Grown-Up Magic. Children are heartless; their parents hold them still, squirming and shouting, until a heart can get going in their little lawless wilderness. Teenagers crash their hearts into every hard and thrilling thing to see what will give and what will hold. And Grown-Ups, when they are very good, when they are very lucky, and very brave, and their wishes are sharp as scissors, when they are in the fullness of their strength, use their hearts to start their stories over again.

Family is a transitive property.

Love is a Yeti. It is bigger than you and frightening and terrible. it makes loud and vicious noises. It is hungry all the time. it has horns and teeth and the fore of its fists is more than anyone can bear. It speeds up time and slows it down. And it has its own aims and missions that those who are lucky enough to see it cannot begin to guess. You might see a Yeti once in your life or never. You might live in a village of them. But in the end, no matter how fast you think you can go, the Yeti is always faster than you, and you can only choose how you say hello to it, and whether you shake its hand.

I think that about sums it all up. Read this series, you won’t be sorry. It is a literary delight.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction

Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan, Nathan Fox , read by Angie, on 02/19/2014

Dogs of War is a graphic novel in three parts. Each part deals with a war and a dog who was part of that war. We start out with Boots, a mercy dog in the trenches of WWI. The middle story is about Loki, a sled dog in Greenland during WWII. The final stories switches between flashbacks of Sheba in Vietnam and Bouncer back in Alabama. These stories are interesting, but I didn’t always feel like the illustrations were totally clear. At times I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on in them. I also wondered about the age this was geared towards. It seems meant for kids, but there was some graphic violence.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman., read by Kira, on 02/16/2014

Odd is a kid who smiles all the time, even after his father dies.  The village people do Not understand him.  Then he attempts to use his father’s giant axe, and in the process Odd & the Frost Giants - Cover +injures his leg; he builds himself a crutch and drags himself home.  His mother remarries a man who doesn’t care for Odd.  But Odd perseveres, using the talents he has, he is able to help out the Norse gods, Odin, Loki, and Thor, who have been turned into different animals.  This was a AdamStower_OddtheFrostGiants01fun short read.universe_within

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow . by Jessica Day George, read by Kira, on 02/16/2014

sun-and-moon-ice-and-snow1   Another delightful rendition of Beauty and the Beast this time in a Norbear - Copywegian mode.  This was well done, fast paced, and atmospheric!  I would like to see a version where the girl does NOT succeastL - Copyumb to kn_eastbearsun moonpressure from her family.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, read by Kira, on 02/19/2014

cover-of-fairest fairestA reinterpretation of Snow White.  In this fractured version, the protagonist, an innkeeper’s daughter, is a larger girl who is sometimes treated poorly by other people because of her looks.  However, she has the most beautiful voice in the kingdom. This was well written and challenged our culture’s obsession with good looks, asking the reader to question our assumptions we make based on physical attractiveness.

20. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Kira

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner., read by Kira, on 02/15/2014

A satire on Political Correctness covering a number of common fairy tales.  In one the helpful woodsman gets his head chopped off, for intruding and doubting that Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, couldn’t work out their own problems.  hw7.plIt was ok, I did learn some things about discrimination and different ways of viewing the world.

19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, read by Kira, on 02/09/2014

A wonderful entrancing story! a hobgoblin, trades places with the real Henry Day, getting a chance to life out a human life, after waiting about 100 years for his turn.  The previous HenrStolen_Childy Day, now renamed Anaday, struggles to make sense of his world, and to fit in with the band of hobgoblins.  Both characters struggle to figure out what to do with the lives that they have.  I like the fact that Donohue took a familiar narrative, that of the stolen/exchanged child, and tackled stochilddeeper questionstlchls of what it meastolns to live a meaningful life.  This book reminded me of both   and Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let me Go” as well as Adam Phillips’ book missing outMissing Out (which had too much psychoanalysis for me to finish).

19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Poetry

God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant, Marla Frazee (Illustrations), read by Angie, on 02/19/2014

God Got a Dog is a short collection of poems by Cynthia Rylant. These poems all explore what would happen if God came to earth to explore being a human. He gets a job, gets in a fight, goes skating, eats spaghetti, gets cable and ends up with a dog to warm his feet. I liked the fact that while some of the poems are a little irreverent (talking about writing the bible) most of them are fairly serious looks at what God would find himself or herself doing as a human. I also really liked the fact that God could be any age and any gender; he is everyone and no one at the same time. This book will not be for everyone, but it is filled with thoughtful poems that really explore what it means to be human and who God is.

19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Mine to Hold by Cynthia Eden, read by Melody, on 02/17/2014

She was one man’s obsession…

Nine years ago, Claire Kramer’s lover brutally killed her family, and he tried to kill her. She escaped, but she’s been haunted ever since that attack. Too afraid to trust another man and too worried that her past will catch up with her, Claire never gets too close to anyone. But then she meets Noah York.

He must have her.

Noah York is a man with secrets. The world sees him as a billionaire hotel tycoon, but Noah has a dark and dangerous side. For years, he worked covert military operations before he built his fortune. When it comes to death, Noah is a master. He knows that he should steer clear of Claire, but the white-hot attraction Noah feels for the delicate beauty is instant—and consuming.

He will never let her go.

Someone else is just as consumed by Claire—someone who will kill to possess her. And if Noah can’t stop the hunter in the darkness, he may just lose the one woman that he can’t live without.

19. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Mine to Keep by Cynthia Eden, read by Melody, on 02/16/2014

Love is the most dangerous obsession…

Skye Sullivan is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. She survived a brutal stalker and escaped his abduction, and now she is looking to the future—a future that includes Skye’s lover, billionaire Trace Weston. Skye thinks the danger is finally over for her.

She’s dead wrong.

When Trace’s past comes back to haunt him, Skye discovers that the man she loves isn’t quite who he seems to be. Trace has been leading a double-life. An ex-special forces agent, his military training turned him into the perfect killing machine. He made more than his share of enemies during his time in the military—and as he built his security empire—and one of those enemies is striking back.

He won’t lose her.

Skye is the one weapon that can be used against Trace—his only vulnerability. But he won’t let her go—he can’t. Trace will do anything necessary to protect Skye. Anything. Yet when she discovers the secrets that he’s tried to keep hidden, Skye’s pain and rage may send her running directly into the cross-hairs of a killer…