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

The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett, 304 pages, read by Angie, on 05/19/2014

The Carpet People was first written by Terry Pratchett when he was 17 years old. He reworked it and reissued it a few years ago. You can see his progression as a writer and a satirist in this early work. It has the beginnings of the depth and humor as his early Discworld books. You get a good idea of where his leanings lie and what message he wants to send out into the world through his books. I would be interested in reading the original version of this book just to see how it was finessed for the reissue.

The Carpet People tells the tale of the land of the carpet. It is populated by different groups of people, animals, monsters, kings and emperors. The Munrungs are a simple people led by Glurk. They are part of the Dumii Kingdom, but only in the sense they are counted and pay taxes. When The Fray destroys their village they take off across the Carpet. Along the way they discover the monsterous Mouls are ravaging the land on their vicious snarls. They help free the Deftmene people and they meet a mysterious Wight who sees all possible futures. Together they all band together to free the land of the terrible Mouls and to come up with a better system than kings and emperors. This story is part adventure, part fantasy, part political satire and all fun. Fans of Terry Pratchett will not go wrong with reading this early work. 

20. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Star Wars: Dark Empire Trilogy by Tom Veitch, 352 pages, read by Brian, on 05/09/2014

starIf you enjoy the Star Wars saga, you will enjoy this trilogy.  Six years after the Return of the Jedi and the fall of the Empire, Han Solo and Princess Leia are trying to hold the New Republic together.  Making the problem more difficult, is the Empire has been reborn with a super weapon.  Luke is struggling with the Dark Side as his father once did years ago.

 

 

20. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Horror

Fatale Vol. 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker, 144 pages, read by Brian, on 05/17/2014

fatale1Ed Brubaker has a nice look at his Batman stories, so I thought I would try this horror series.  This is a story of a man who obsessed over woman back in the 1950s.  He meets her again in present day and his life is turned into a horror show.  Every where this woman goes death follows.  This is story about the occult and can be grisly at times but a fascinating read.

 

20. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Mystery

Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas, 324 pages, read by Brian, on 05/08/2014

veronicaYou cannot say “Veronica Mars” without hearing, “we use to be friends” in your head.  Veronica Mars was a popular but short lived television show about a high school girl doing detective work in her community. Creator, Rob Thomas, is now starting a series of books based off the lead character.   The first book takes place ten years after Veronica has graduated high school.

 

19. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Heartless by Kat Martin, 325 pages, read by Kim, on 05/19/2014

To escape her life of poverty as a tenant farmer’s daughter, Ariel Summers made a bargain with the devil–she would become the Earl of Greville’s mistress in exchange for the schooling and refinements of a lady. But she couldn’t foresee the earl’s timely death, or her own disturbing attraction to his bastard son and heir, Justin Ross. 
Justin never meant to demand payment from the tempting young woman his father had so callously planned to ruin. But her innocent allure provoked his ruthless nature and he vowed he would have her in his bed. 
Seduction was his plan, but Justin never suspected Ariel’s innocent passion would awaken emotions he had long believe dead. Now mistrust and betrayal threaten the fragile happiness the two of them have found, and Justin must convince Ariel he isn’t the heartless man she believes him.

A fairy tale-like story.  The rulers of Montagne have been rumored to possess and use magic.  But this has been only a rumor.  Grandmonther (queen mother) Benificence, her two daughters Wisdom and Temperance, along with an orphan named Fortitude and a miller’s son Tips all end up at Wisdom’s wedding to the neighboring and coveting kingdom.  Its a pretty fast paced, fun tale, written mostly in letter, epistolary format. wisdom's kiss wisdom-s-kiss

19. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Wicked Promise by Kat Martin, 344 pages, read by Kim, on 05/18/2014

A Lady’s Desperate Choice
When the loathsome Lord Bascomb tries to force her into marriage, Elizabeth Woolcot, against her will, must applea to her influential guardian. Nicholas Warring, known as the Wicked Early, is a darkly handsom charasmatic figure–with the power to save her but a past that could put her reputation dangerously at risk. A ruthless womanizer, he has also been convicted of murder–and barely escaped hanging.

A rogue’s tainted honor
Elizabth can’t help her attraction to the man who haunts her dreams–nor he his hunger for her. But she knows it can never be. For Nicholas is a married man. Then a heinous crime shatters their lives–and Nick is the natural suspect. Elizabeth wants to believe in his innocence more than life and love itself–but can she trust a man who has killed before?

19. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Don't look Now by Linda Lael Miller, 424 pages, read by Melody, on 05/18/2014

Defense attorney Clare Westbrook functions very well in crisis mode — whether taking the media rap for an explosive case or bargaining with her teenaged niece, whom Clare is raising. But a shocking crime — the murder of her notoriously unethical boss — is about to test her heart and soul: heading the homicide investigation is irresistibly sexy detective Tony Sonterra. Now, a passion that is as risky as it is addictive pulls Clare into the crosshairs of a deadly mystery from the past. As the truth closes in and it becomes clear someone’s targeting “her, ” Clare and Tony embark on a twisting chase in the Arizona heat, where their dangerous desire sparks a determined hunt for a killer.

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

Freefall by Jill Sorenson, 384 pages, read by Melody, on 05/17/2014

HE’S HER ONLY HOPE… 

Park ranger Hope Banning’s plans for a little R & R are put on hold when a plane crashes at the top of a remote mountain. Hope will have to climb the summit and assess the situation. And the only climbing partner available is Sam Rutherford–the enigmatic man she spent a night with six months ago. 

FOR STAYING ALIVE… 

Ever since Sam lost his girlfriend in a falling accident, he insists on climbing solo. But Hope and any potential survivors need his help. As Sam and Hope set out on an emergency search-and-rescue mission, he realizes the sparks still sizzle between them. And when they learn a killer is among the survivors, they must place their trust in each other for a chance at happiness.

19. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine, 352 pages, read by Angie, on 05/19/2014

Red Porter comes from a long line of Porters. He is proud of his family heritage and his place in the world and his community. Then his daddy dies and suddenly mom is talking about moving them from Virginia to Ohio. Red doesn’t want to leave his home or the shop and store his daddy owned. He tries everything he can think of to stop his mom from selling even if that includes enlisting the help of Darryl Dunlop. The Dunlops have been the Porter’s neighbors for a hundred years and there has always been bad blood between. The Dunlops and Porters couldn’t be more different. The Porters are pillars of the community whereas the Dunlops beat their kids and cause trouble. 

Red is also having trouble reconciling the racism he sees in his community with his own beliefs. Red is learning that just because it is the 1970s that doesn’t mean racism is gone. There are still people who want to put Blacks in their place and keep them separated from the whites. Red is friends with Ms. Georgia, an old Black lady who lives up the road from his family. Her grandpa was murdered 100 years ago on land he was buying from the Porters. Red decides to try and solve the mystery of where the Freedom Church was and what really happened the night George Freeman was murdered. This leads him to some hard truths about his family and the Dunlops. 

There is a lot going on in this book. It is a book that would spark a lot of discussions on civil rights, women rights and racism. It is also a good discussion book on grief and how different people deal with a loved ones death. Red wants to hold onto everything related to his father, but his mother can’t stand being around everything without his father. I liked the progression of the characters. Red grows up a lot during the course of the book. He learns to stand up for what he believes in and not to give in to the bigots and racists. His mother also changes. She is devastated with grief at the beginning, barely able to function, but by the end she is strong and more than what she was.

For most of human history people believed the earth was the center of the universe and the sun, planets and stars all revolved around the earth. There were many different ideas of how the universe was set up but all of them followed the Biblical teachings that the earth was the center of everything. Then came some radical thinkers who tried to reconcile what they had learned with what they observed about the universe. They couldn’t get the two to match up. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton all used science and observation to try and understand the universe. They and others like them were also persecuted by the Church and other scientists who believed the earth-centric configuration of the universe. I thought this was a very well-organized and interesting book. It was easy to follow and understand and I think it is perfect for kids starting to learn about the universe. I did think the last chapter on groups who still believe the earth is the center of the universe was a little less scientific explanation and a little more preachy, but other than that it was a great read.

16. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Inspirational, Marsha, NonFiction, Self Help

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon, 224 pages, read by Marsha, on 05/06/2014

showThis book, a follow-up to Steal Like an Artist, continues Kleon’s advice on creativity by encouraging artists everywhere to show their work.  This particular volume discusses the value of sharing work in online communities through blogs and other social media.  Not only does the artist make work public in this way, but he or she also shares with others a bit about process and how the work is made.  I found this book to be just as valuable a resource as the first and have already read it twice.  It is inspirational and will have artists everywhere wanting to get up and share what they do with others.  As Kleon notes, the world owes us nothing.  We have to give selflessly in order to get and this book will show the reader how.  I highly recommend Kleon’s work to artists of all kinds.  Create–share.  What a fun cycle to be in!

15. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Award Winner, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, 182 pages, read by Angie, on 05/15/2014

Sometimes I read a book and wonder what happened when I was a child that I missed reading it then. Maybe I was just too preoccupied by The Babysitters Club or Sweet Valley High and didn’t pay attention to books that might be considered quality. Maybe I only read things I could get through Scholastic Book Club. Whatever the case, I am glad I have the opportunity to read some of these as an adult and to introduce them to kids. 

The Westing Game is one of those books I never read as a kid but know I would have loved. It did when the Newbery when I was a pre-reader, but I am sure it was on every library shelf throughout my childhood. It is a wonderfully engaging mystery that reminded me a lot of the movie Clue (not an exact match I admit, but some elements were there). I liked that it is not a dumbed down mystery for kids, but one that made me think even as an adult. In the introduction, it states that Rankin never “wrote-down” to children, but instead wrote to the adult in children. I think this perfectly describes this book.

The story begins with the Sunset Towers and its new occupants. They are all carefully chosen, except for the mistake, and all are connected even though they do not realize it. Sunset Towers is in the shadow of the Westing House whose mysterious owner, Sam Westing, disappeared 20 years ago. Then Sam Westing is found dead in the house and the occupants of the Sunset Towers are notified that they are heirs to the Westing Fortune. The sixteen heirs are paired up and given clues to solve the mystery of who murdered Sam Westing. They winner of the Westing Game will receive the Westing fortune. Along the way we learn so much about each of the characters and their connections to each other and Sam Westing. In the end there is only one winner of the Westing Game, but everyone who plays benefits in some manner. 

15. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction

Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman (Author), Annie Crawley (Photographer), 48 pages, read by Angie, on 05/15/2014

This is the type of nonfiction I really enjoy reading (maybe I just have the mind of a middle schooler!). It is on a fascinating subject I know little about. It contains all kinds of useful information with lots of pictures. And it isn’t so long that I lose interest. 

Plastic Ahoy is all about a scientific expedition called SEAPLEX that traveled out into the Pacific Ocean to investigate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The scientists onboard wanted to learn how the plastic was affecting the marine life. They investigated whether marine life was using the plastic and garbage as habitats, whether the marine life was consuming the plastic and what happened when it did, and if it was affecting the phytoplankton in the ocean. The book follows three scientists through their experiments and conclusions. It was very educational, but entertaining and interesting at the same time.

15. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, 367 pages, read by Jessica, on 05/15/2014

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Lord of Devil Isle by Connie Mason, 310 pages, read by Kim, on 05/12/2014

Nicholas Scott is lord of Devil Isle in all but name, and rules both his ship and the inhabitants of Bermuda with a masterful touch. But fiesty Eve Upshall will be ruled by no man, especially not the arrogant privateer who rescues her from drowning and a shark attack.

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Yesteryear by Dorothy Garlock, 375 pages, read by Kim, on 05/04/2014

Addie Hyde spent four years waiting to see if the high-spirited husband she had married in haste would come back after the South lost the war. Yet Kirby Hyde was never among the Confederates in rags and tatters straggling through Arkansas.

Addie always had spunk, but now she also had a young son, two foster children she cherished, and trouble. Deserters and drifters were making Addie’s isolated farmhouse a dangerous place for a pretty woman without a man—until John Tallman showed up in town.

He asked about Addie, he watched for her, and suddenly he was using his guns and fists to protect her. His kindness showed Addie not to fear him. Her heart soon told her more. John Tallman had a shadow about him that even love might not chase away. And although yesteryear was gone, it could take all a woman’s caring, and all her courage, to make tomorrow theirs.

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Melody, Romance

Scandal's Darling by Nancy Bush, 342 pages, read by Melody, on 05/13/2014

Lady Veronica Elizabeth Ashworth was the talk of London, ever since society gossip linked her with a notorious rake. To save the family reputation, her cold-hearted father vowed to choose her a husband – unless she found a fiancé herself, by the end of the Marquess of Wilshire’s ball. As the dancers whirled and the deadline neared, beautiful, headstrong Veronica set tongues wagging again, as she swept in from the balcony on the arm of a handsome American stranger…

Samuel Danner was as exotic as the Oregon frontier from which he hailed – and as uninterested in marriage as any man could be. He was searching London for the man who had killed his beloved wife when Lady Veronica offered help – if he would pose as her fiancé. Refusing her offer was the right thing to do, but Veronica’s quick mind and vibrant spirit spoke a language Samuel could not resist…as fate transformed her from scandal’s darling into a proud, courageous woman who would risk her life for the man she adored. But only when he thought he’d lost her forever would Samuel recognize that Veronica could lighten the darkness of his soul and be the woman of his dreams.

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kira

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, 80 pages, read by Kira, on 05/13/2014

index mirrormask-drawing    mirr  MirrorMask,ChildrensEdition_Hardback_1185587477Circus daughter Helena says she hates her life and wants to have an ordinary “real” life, and that she hates her mother.  Her mother falls ill with mirrormask2cancer.  In an alternate reality – a dreamy Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass world – Helena has to set things right, in order to return to her original world. I choose this title because its a graphic novel, which is this months challenge.  It was interesting, kind of showing teen rebellion and growing up.  I didn’t really care for the artwork.

I wish they could get someone like Laurel Burch to do the artwork in these Graphic Novels – please add this kind of color graphic novelists!images

14. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple, 362 pages, read by Kira, on 05/13/2014

Jo Hemlock has spent her life hiding, hiding the fact that she’s a witch, and hiding from the evil clan of witches that killed her mother, that are now pursuing her and her grandmother.  Now that she’s about to have a regular boyfriend, is when the evil clan strikes again, sending her innocent father (whom she had never met) searching for her Mom and then for Jo.   Fast paced, and engaging book (not deep though).  house ivy s grimoire House-Ivy-Sorrow-BannerI would enjoy a sequel.