31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

A Tragic Wreck by T.K. Leigh, 342 pages, read by Nikki, on 03/31/2014

18215147How can you continue living when you’re living a lie? How can you convince your body to stop feeling, your soul to stop caring, and your heart to stop beating?

Haunted by her past, Olivia Adler flees Boston for a beach in Florida, leaving everyone behind, trying to shut the world out. Remaining a relative recluse in her self-imposed prison, she tries to turn everything off, wanting to feel nothing. But a new acquaintance won’t let that happen. After being away from Alexander for a month, his voice constantly ringing in her head, reminding her that her inability to confront her demons will not only destroy her, but also him, can she really be expected to want to feel again when it brings nothing but pain?

Back in Boston, everywhere he turns, Alexander Burnham is reminded of Olivia… His Olivia… He tries to dull the ache left in his heart the only way he knows how… in the bed of a beautiful woman. But Alexander isn’t about to lose his Olivia. After a clue comes to light regarding Olivia’s whereabouts, can he convince her to return to Boston with him? When a force that has laid dormant for months resurfaces, can Alexander still protect her from the unknown danger? And when Alexander comes face to face with a shadow of both his and Olivia’s past, will he be able to tell her the secret that is threatening to tear them apart?

31. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Romance

A Beautiful Mess by T.K. Leigh, 328 pages, read by Nikki, on 03/22/2014

71Zgif+iAHL._SL1500_What happens when you lose everyone that promised they would always be there for you? How can you protect the few pieces of your shattered heart that remain?

Olivia Adler is a woman with a troubled past. After losing her parents at the young age of six and being raised by an uncle who she lost years later, she refuses to get attached to anyone, including friends. For the past decade, she has been able to remain unattached to any man, too worried about losing someone to get too close. Until Alexander Burnham walks into her life one night and changes everything. But he has issues of his own. And he’s keeping a secret that could turn her world upside-down. Will Olivia let Alexander in enough for him to get close and protect her from a force threatening her very existence, or will she push him away, scared of letting Alexander in, in order to protect her heart?

30. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner, 413 pages, read by Judy, on 03/30/2014

Twenty years ago, Melanie Stokes was abandoned in a Boston Hospital, then adopted by a wealthy young couple.  Gifted with loving parents, a doting brother, and an indulgent uncle, Melanie has always considered herself lucky.  Until tonight.

Tonight, a has-been reporter turns up, investigating her past.  Tonight, the first note arrives, saying, “You get what you deserve”.  And tonight Melanie has her first, horrifying vision of the past.

Melanie has no memory of her life before the adoption.  Now someone wants to give it back, even if it includes the darkest nightmare the Stokes family ever faced:    the murder of their first daughter in Texas.  As Melanie pursues every lead, chases every shadow in search of her real identity, two seemingly unrelated events from her past will come together in a dangerous explosion of the truth.

30. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, History, Inspirational, Memoirs, NonFiction, Rachel

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, 228 pages, read by Rachel, on 03/29/2014

This was a fantastic autobiography! Reminiscent of Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Hiding Place provided the perspective of a Christian family in Holland hiding those who were fleeing Nazi persecution. I was amazed by the organization of the resistance and the positivity of Corrie ten Boom during one of the darkest times of history.

This is the true story of how Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch underground when the Nazis invaded Holland, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room.

28. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Paranormal

The Strangers by Jacqueline West, 320 pages, read by Angie, on 03/27/2014

This is the fourth book in the Elsewhere series. Olive Dunwoody lives in a magical house. The house used to belong to the McMartins, a family of powerful magicians who all died. The house is filled with magical paintings that lead to Elsewhere. With a special pair of glasses, Olive can enter the paintings and go to Elsewhere. In a previous book in the series, Adolphus McMartin and Annabelle McMartin both escaped from their paintings. They want the house and its magic back. In this book, Olive’s parents are kidnapped and a family of magicians come to town to help her. Olive has to figure out where her parents are and who she can trust.

I think my appreciation for this book would have been higher if I had read more than the first book of the series. I found the villains in this tale fairly predictable. However, the action was good and I am sure fans of this series were quite happy with how the story played out.

28. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

I Even Funnier by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 03/25/2014

Jamie Grimm wants to be the “funniest kid on the planet”. He is on his way to achieving his goal after winning the funniest kid in Boston contest. He just needs to win the regionals and move on. Jamie pulls his humor from the things around him which don’t seem funny on the surface. Jamie is in a wheelchair after an accident that killed his parents and little sister. He now lives with his aunt and uncle and a horrible cousin who bullies him all the time. Thankfully he has a good group of supportive friends and another uncle who helps him prepare for the competition.

I didn’t read I Funny: A Middle School Story so I didn’t have all the background on these characters. However, I think this is a book that will appeal to kids, especially fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The humor is pretty good and the story is interesting enough to keep kids reading. I thought the turn-around of the bully was a little too good, but other than that the story was fine. Not my favorite, but not horrible either.

28. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard, 506 pages, read by Jessica, on 03/27/2014

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, “Gabriel’s Inferno” is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible…forgiveness and love.

28. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Sempre by J.M. Darhower, 530 pages, read by Melody, on 03/26/2014

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did.

Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.

27. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Women's Fiction (chick lit) · Tags:

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, 334 pages, read by Kira, on 03/24/2014

What a delightful wonderful tale!   Sarah Addison Allen’s writing is a bit like Anne Tyler’s, but with a little magical realism and and little more optimism thrown in.  I liked how you got to know each character’s back story, how they became who they are.  I liked the ending though pLost lakeersonally, I could see it coming.  And the book had a positive impact lost lon my bodlake losty  cypress kneeslo lk  devons wingslots lake lot lakeimage.    lost lkeLost lake fwaking Kate

25. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Rachel

All-of-a-kind Family by Sydney Taylor, 188 pages, read by Rachel, on 03/24/2014

This was a pretty cute book. Reminded me of an urban Little House on the Prairie. I loved the detailed description of Jewish holidays. Make sure you don’t read those sections on an empty stomach…the food descriptions were very well written!

It’s the turn of the century in New York’s Lower East Side and a sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five young sisters – Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama’s front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa’s peddler’s shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises. But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all!

25. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Judy, Thriller/Suspense

Unseen by Karin Slaughter, 530 pages, read by Judy, on 03/25/2014

Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent, working undercover in Macon, Georgia, posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who trails an air of violence wherever he goes.  The cover has worked and he has caught the eye of a wiry little drug dealer who thinks he might be a useful ally.  But there’s a problem.  Cut off from the support of the woman he loves, Sara Linton, Will finds his demons catching up with him.   Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting.  Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down.    Suddenly Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it – with danger swirling around both of them.    A novel of fierce intensity, shifting allegiances, and shocking twists.  Unseen pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.

In addition the book provides a short story called “Busted” featuring Will Trent again in the role of Bill Black.   As with the first story, Busted keeps you in suspense.

25. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Noelle · Tags: , , ,

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai, 324 pages, read by Noelle, on 03/18/2014

This book was not bad, but I was hoping it would be a little more exciting and quirky.  I also could have used a little less of the narrator’s self loathing rants.

In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

 

25. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Romance

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, 336 pages, read by Angie, on 03/24/2014

Lincoln has finally finished school after several degrees and moved back in with his mother. He has a job he hates at the local newspaper. He works nights in the IT office monitoring the email filter and making sure no one is sending things through company email that they shouldn’t. He doesn’t have much of a social life and spends his Saturday nights playing Dungeons and Dragons. He becomes enchanted by the emails between Beth and Jennifer as they chat about their lives, their loves and everything else. He is soon in love with Beth even though he has never met her or even seen her.

I absolutely loved Rainbow Rowell’s other books Eleanor & Park and Fangirl so when I saw she had another book I immediately picked it up to read it. My first indication that it was something different should have been that it was an adult romance book. This book definitely lacks the charm and intensity of her teen books. I did really enjoy the snappy emails between Jennifer and Beth. I thought those parts of the book really elevated the story. Lincoln’s story was a bit different. There wasn’t a lot there that really drew me in. And I thought he was pretty much a stalker for the majority of the book. Not in a horrible way, but a stalker none-the-less. Then we have the ending…oh the horrible ending. So Lincoln and Beth have never met, but they are somehow in love. So of course the first time they do meet they spend the entire time making out during a movie and suddenly love has bloomed, romance is in the air, and everything is wonderful. Really?? Never mind the fact that he invaded her privacy for months and stalked her and never mind the fact that she kind of stalked him as well. Once they meet all is forgotten and forgiven and coupledom ensues. I found it a bit ridiculous which is why I so seldom read adult books and very rarely romance. I will definitely stick with Rowell’s teen books in the future.

24. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Humor, Pamela, Romance · Tags:

Stop the Wedding! by Stephanie Bond, 178 pages, read by Pamela, on 03/23/2014

weddingDivorce attorney, Annabelle Coakley is quite upset that her mother is planning to remarry.  And, marrying washed up film star, Martin Castleberry, to boot.  She heads to Atlanta with one goal in mind – stop the wedding!

Clay Castleberry, the groom’s son, leaves unfinished business in Paris to hopefully buy off the new lady in his father’s life.

Even though Annabelle and Clay don’t get off on the right foot, they decide to join forces and work together to stop their parent’s wedding.  They soon discover they have feelings for one another, although neither will admit it.

This was a cute little romance; sort of predictable; and available only on book on CD in our library.  Enjoy!

24. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags: ,

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks, 313 pages, read by Eric, on 03/23/2014

Ten-year-old Birdie works as an apprentice for Alfred, surrogate father and bogler, in the poor, tough streets and houses of Victorian London. A boglers job is to kill the various dark monsters infesting London, and snatching up their favorite snacks, children. Birdie is the bait for the team’s salt-circle traps, and is vital to luring out the bogles. She’s proud of her work, even though it is very dangerous, and doesn’t pay well. When Miss Eames, an upper-class lady fascinated with the science of monsters, convinces Alfred to allow her to observe their work, they soon find themselves faced with monsters of both the bogle and human kind.

This is an excellent start to a new trilogy, and right up my darkened alley. The bogles are nasty, the dingy Victorian setting is ominous, and the Alfred-Birdie monster hunting team is great. The human murder mystery at the center of it all is creepy, satisfying, and makes me wish for the next book. Recommended.

24. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Crow's Row by Julie Hockley, 408 pages, read by Melody, on 03/23/2014

For college student Emily Sheppard, the thought of spending a summer alone in New York is much more preferable than spending it in France with her parents. Just completing her freshman year at Callister University, Emily faces a quiet summer in the city slums, supporting herself by working at the campus library. During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bill’s grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killing-and then she blacks out. When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes she’s been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang. She is hurled into a secret underworld, wondering why she is still alive and for how long.

Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his untimely death, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty-six year- old Cameron. She understands it’s a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life. But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.

21. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski, 388 pages, read by Melody, on 03/20/2014

Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.

While on the run, Victor strays from his primal nature as he succumbs to his conscience and resolves to help Sarai. As they grow closer, he finds himself willing to risk everything to keep her alive; even his relationship with his devoted brother and liaison, Niklas, who now like everyone else wants Sarai dead.

As Victor and Sarai slowly build a trust, the differences between them seem to lessen, and an unlikely attraction intensifies. But Victor’s brutal skills and experience may not be enough in the end to save her, as the power she unknowingly holds over him may ultimately be what gets her killed.

This is their story.

21. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski, 464 pages, read by Jessica, on 03/20/2014

Since they were kids, Elias Kline and Brayelle Bates have been inseparable. When Bray moves to South Carolina, separating the two for the first time, they both at last realize that their innocent childhood friendship has developed into something much more. So when Bray finally returns to Georgia—and to Elias—things between them couldn’t be more perfect…until one fateful night changes everything.

Desperate not to go to prison for a terrible accident, Elias and Bray decide to run. As they try to make the most of their freedom, the two find themselves relying on a rebellious group of people who tempt the duo into a wild and daring new life. But they can’t run from their troubles forever.

As the consequences of their past catch up to them, the couple must finally face reality. Even if they can make it through the unimaginable, Elias knows the truth about Bray’s painful history, and in the end he may not be able to save Bray from herself…

20. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Teen Books

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, 445 pages, read by Angie, on 03/18/2014

I loved Eleanor and Park so of course I had to pick up the next Rainbow Rowell book. Her stories are wonderful and so very realistic. Fangirl is about Cath. Cath is headed to college and not really ready for it. Her twin sister Wren has told her she doesn’t want to be roommates and wants to meet other people. Cath has always had Wren to rely on so this makes going to college even harder. Cath also worries about their dad who isn’t the most stable man around especially without Cath and Wren to keep an eye on him. Cath’s roommate doesn’t help either. She is snarly and rude and has an adorable boyfriend who keeps hanging around the room. Cath isn’t interested in socializing or having the college experience. She doesn’t want to meet new people or party and is scared of the cafeteria. All she really wants to do is work on her Simon Snow fanfiction and finish Carry On Simon before the next book comes out. Cath is an uber Simon Snow fan and her fanfic has thousands of followers online. Cath is more comfortable in that magical world than she is in the real world.

So for the first part of the this book I could do nothing but feel sorry for Cath. She is completely anti-social and one of the most scared people you will ever meet. Regan and Levi do slowly bring her out of that shell but it really takes a lot of effort. I thought the fanfic would be weird but it really kind of worked and in a way made me wish there really were Simon Snow books; even though they are really just Harry Potter fanfiction in themselves. I really appreciated Cath’s journey through these books. She grows up a lot and really comes into her own. And of course I loved Levi. He is the perfect first boyfriend in almost every way. As long as this book was I could have actually read more of this story. I can’t wait to see what Rainbow Rowell comes up with next.

20. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 03/19/2014

Clare’s mother has died. Her father is a doctor and decides to move them to Malawi where he will work in a local hospital. Needless to say, Clare is not thrilled. She doesn’t want to leave her home, her friends and where she knew her mom. Once they get to Malawi it is complete culture shock. Everything from the living conditions to the food to the school is 100% different than what she is used to. However, Clare makes friends with Memory and her brother Innocent. She starts fitting in at school and things start to look up. She even gets to teach English to the first graders. Clare has to deal with a lot; she has to come to terms with the loss of her mom, to forgive her dad, and to learn to love her new life.

I didn’t think I would like this book as much as I did. I loved Clare and all her trials and triumphs. I thought she was extremely realistic in how she handled everything from the chicken to the shower to the school. Boston and Malawi are worlds apart and I thought Shana Burg did a great job showing just how different life in Africa really is. I also loved that this was not an after school special type book and that everything was not perfect. Life expectancy is low in Malawi; people don’t live to old age (old age is your 40s). I thought it was really realistic to show a child’s death and to show how difficult getting an education was. Excellent book!