29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

Apollo and the Battle of the Birds by Joan Holub , 128 pages, read by Angie, on 03/28/2015

This is the first book of this series I have read. It is a good beginning chapter book for the kids who want to read Rick Riordan but aren’t quite ready. It is a short adventure story with lots of action and interesting characters. In this book, the Olympians are headed off to fight for the aegis (a shield). The meet Ares along the way and invite him to join their group. Nice introduction to Greek mythology and a fun story.

29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Win or Lose by Alex Morgan, 160 pages, read by Angie, on 03/28/2015

The Kicks are the middle school girls’s soccer team and they are headed for the championship. Devin is the seventh grade co-captain and new in town. Things get heated on the team when Devin is misquoted in the local paper. Suddenly it is is seventh graders against eighth graders and the team is not working together just when they really need to. I’m not a huge fan of sports stars writing books, mainly because the majority of them do not write well and it seems like they get published just because of their name. This book wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t anything spectacular either. There are some good lessons about friendship and teamwork in the book. There aren’t a lot of girls sports book so this does fill a need.

29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 03/28/2015

Truly Lovejoy comes from a long line of Lovejoys. When her father is injured in Afghanistan and loses his arm, the family picks up and moves to his hometown in New Hampshire. JT can’t be a pilot with only one arm and his injury has turned him into Silent Man. Truly misses her joking father and feels like she is invisible in her family of seven. It doesn’t help that her math grades are bad and she has to be tutored by her dad before he will let her join the swim team.

JT and his sister True have taken over the family bookstore, Lovejoy’s Books, while their parents join the Peace Corp. Truly isn’t thrilled with leaving Texas or her best friend. In Pumpkin Falls, she tries to go into stealth mode, but being 6-feet tall and new in a small town she definitely stands out. She is soon friends with Lucas and Cha Cha and solving a 20-year-old mystery. While helping out in the shop she finds an unmailed letter in a first edition of Charlotte’s Web. The clues in the letter lead the friends allover Pumpkin Falls and introduces them to a lot of interesting characters around town.

I really enjoy small town books with quirky characters and Pumpkin Falls seems to have its share. There is the busybody postmistress, the bag lady who seems to carry kittens in every pocked and the helicopter mom who can’t seem to let Lucas grow up. Pumpkin Falls also has a winter festival and a required cotillion for the middle schoolers. Then there is the frozen waterfalls and the fact that the town was founded by a Lovejoy. It all adds up to an interesting story. I liked the fish-out-of-water aspect of Truly’s tale and the fact that her dad is a wounded warrior. I thought the mystery aspect wasn’t that interesting and didn’t really add much to the story; however, the rest of it was really entertaining and a fun read.

29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, 212 pages, read by Angie, on 03/27/2015

Princess Cimorene doesn’t want to be a proper princess, she wants to learn to fight with a sword and learn magic and learn to cook and everything else her parents forbid her to do. When they set her up to be married she decides to run away. She heads straight to the dragon caves and volunteers to be a dragon’s princess. Luckily she is accepted by Kazul and they get along wonderfully well. Cimorene starts organizing Kazul’s caves and learns a lot about living with dragons. She learns that not all dragons like princesses or have one and that not all princesses are happy being with dragons. She also has to devise ways to deal with the pesky knights who keep showing up to rescue her. Then she gets involved in dragon politics and has to save the dragons from terrible wizards.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. It was a great audiobook to listen to. I like my heroines to be a bit on the unusual side and Cimorene definitely fits the bill. She is independent and smart and a role-breaker. I liked the different takes on the role of dragons and princesses and knights. This is a bit older than a lot of the fantasy books popular right now but fits right in with Jessica Day George’s dragon series and others.

29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan, 108 pages, read by Angie, on 03/28/2015

Lucy and her family are heading to Aunt Frankie’s farm. It is flood time when the river rises and they are going to help her aunt. Lucy is the odd duck in her musical family. She is the only one who can’t sing. Even her little brother Teddy who doesn’t talk can hum in perfect tune. Lucy wants to be a poet. She likes writing poetry, but doesn’t know if she is good enough and hides her poems from her family. She also hides the fact that Teddy sings to her every night. He doesn’t talk or sing to anyone but her. On Frankie’s farm Teddy starts speaking more and more starting when he says cow. As the river rises the family learns each other’s secrets and works together.

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. It is a perfect beginning chapter book: short, simple language and a powerful story. I really enjoyed Lucy and her family, especially her relationship with Teddy. I like stories with close families and good relationships. My one quibble might be that the kids are all a bit too perfect. Teddy is two but says big words and sings in perfect tune. Middle sister Gracie draws really well. And of course Lucy writes wonderful poetry. I think it would have been just as powerful a story if the kids weren’t quite as special.

29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Map Trap by Andrew Clements, 144 pages, read by Angie, on 03/28/2015

Alton has loved maps since he was a baby. He draws maps, collects maps, wears maps and does geocaching. One day he takes his folder of secret maps to school to impress Quint. Big mistake. The folder of maps disappears and Alton starts getting ransom notes. He has to figure out who has his maps before they get all over school. His secret maps are like regular maps; they map things like Ms. Wheeling’s mind and the heights of the sixth grade and the smells of the school. If they get out people’s feelings could get hurt. This is a nice, short book for those readers who like a little gentle mystery. I really appreciated the creativity of Alton’s maps, but I got a bit irritated by Quint’s slang (it was a bit much). Good teacher interactions as well.

28. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Teen Books · Tags:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart., 240 pages, read by Kira, on 03/25/2015

16143347  we-were-liars-mapSilhouettes of people jumping in oceantumblr_mxk4emjTkt1sm095go1_500tumblr_n5ohe5tCLG1sm095go1_500 Cadence suffered a terrible accident on her families summer vacation island at age 15.  It is 2 years later, and she is finally allowed to return to the family vacation home, to be with her cousins and family, and to try and retrieve her memories about what happened.   I’m reading this for a book-group I belong to.   I advise you to skip the reviews – you will enjoy it the book that much more.  I  liked the ending!

27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery · Tags: ,

Big little lies by Liane Moriarty, 458 pages, read by Katy, on 03/27/2015

9780698138636_p0_v2_s260x420Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

From www.goodreads.com. 

27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin, Kevin Cornell (Illustrations), 112 pages, read by Angie, on 03/26/2015

This is a really cute beginning chapter book. It is the tale of a dog who is in charge of keeping the chickens in his yard safe. Of course, he has to keep them safe from themselves. The four chicks take up with a squirrel who convinces them there is a UFO in the yard out to kidnap the chicks. Turns out it is a barbeque and the dog has to save everything. Very cute and appropriate for beginning chapter book readers. A good recommendation for fans of Mercy Watson.

27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

More of Monkey & Robot by Peter Catalanotto, 64 pages, read by Angie, on 03/26/2015

The second book in the Monkey and Robot series. This is a good transition book for young readers who are ready to move on from easy readers but not quite ready for chapter books. The four chapters in the book are all independent stories that can be read together or separate. Funny stories that are sure to tickle kids.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Missing Pieces of Me by Jean Van Leeuwen, 226 pages, read by Angie, on 03/25/2015

Weezie’s momma says she is a bad kid. Nothing she does ever seems to come out right whether it is making her momma tea or cooking dinner or picking flowers. Momma dotes on Ruth Ann and Jackson, but has nothing good to say to Weezie. Momma also doesn’t talk about Weezie’s daddy. She won’t even say his name or tell Weezie anything about him other than that he was a bad guy. Weezie wonders if finding her daddy would make any difference in her life. She has very little to go on: just a photo with a first name. She enlists the help of her friends Calvin and Louella to help her figure it out.

Weezie’s story seems to be one of heartbreak and loss, but on closer inspection it is one of hope and determination. Weezie is beaten down at every turn, by her momma and by some of her classmates. She doesn’t let that drag her down though. She is positive in spite of everything. She is an artist with true talent and is recognized by her teacher if not by her momma. She is a good friend to Luella and Calvin even when her momma tries to stop her from being their friend. She is a good big sister to Ruth Ann and Jackson even though her momma never recognizes her efforts. And she is a good daughter despite her momma’s indifference. I appreciate the fact that while the ending is hopefully it is not necessarily a happy ending. It is realistic in that momma has not made a big change in her attitude and Weezie’s homelife is still very much the same as it was. Sure she knows who her daddy is, but that has not really changed her circumstances. The Missing Pieces of Me is a wonderful story that I highly recommend.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Lulu's Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst, Kevin Cornell (Illustrator), 185 pages, read by Angie, on 03/25/2015

Lulu’s parents are going on vacation without Lulu. She is NOT happy about it and is even more unhappy when she learns they are leaving her with a babysitter. She tries everything she can think of to get rid of Sonia Sofia Solinsky, including introducing cats to the highly allergic babysitter, sneaking out the window and blockading herself in her room. It doesn’t matter what she does, Solinsky is always one step ahead of her. After the blockade is destroyed Solinsky lets it slip that she is actually a spy. Of course, Lulu wants to be a spy as well and begs Solinsky to train her. Solinsky demands obedience and once Lulu is on board she has a much better time with her babysitter. The only problem is that her parents missed her so much they are determined to never leave her again. That will not do! Lulu then has to convince them to keep taking vacations so she can have Sonia Sofia Solinsky keep training her. I really enjoyed Lulu’s third outing. This series is very tongue-in-cheek funny. I really enjoy the interjections of the author, which didn’t seem quite as plentiful as they were in other books. However, I liked this story and how Solinsky tames Lulu. I think Lulu fans will enjoy this one as much as the others.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

Where there's smoke by Elizabeth Lee, 230 pages, read by Melody, on 03/25/2015

There is something to be said for letting go. Ryland Roberts knows that better than anyone. He’d let go of his ambitions, of his family and—most of all—of her. He’d perfected the art of putting his past behind him and accepted the fact that the town he wanted to leave in his rearview was the place where he was going to live out his days. But sometimes the past doesn’t just go away. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you.

Piper Jameson convinced herself that she left for all the right reasons. She’d saved people by leaving—made sure that they weren’t tainted by her rebellious ways. When her little sister asks her to come home and say goodbye to their ailing mother, she’s forced to see that things aren’t always as they seem. The people who she’d left behind might not have been saved at all.

In the amount of time it takes a bullet to travel from point A to point B, Piper and Ryland will have to put their feelings for each other aside and make a choice. Forced on the run with Piper’s sister, they begin to understand that the future they thought was gone was never really lost.

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tomb Raider Tankobon: Volume 3 by Dan Jurgens, 220 pages, read by Brian, on 03/20/2015

tomb3Adventurer Lara Croft visits exotic locales in search of the world’s greatest treasure. From the archives of Top Cow Productions, one of the leading publishers of comic books in North America, Bandai Entertainment is proud to release a new series of graphic novels featuring the best of Lara Croft’s adventures!

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tomb Raider Tankobon: Volume 2 by San Jurgensans, 220 pages, read by Brian, on 03/20/2015

tomb2Adventurer Lara Croft visits exotic locales in search of the world’s greatest treasures. From the archives of Top Cow Productions, one of the leading publishers of comic books in North America, Bandai Entertainment is proud to release a new series of graphic novels featuring the best of Lara Croft’s adventures!

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Tomb Raider: Tankobon: Volume 1 by Dan Jurgens, 236 pages, read by Brian, on 03/19/2015

tombAdventurer Lara Croft visits exotic locales in search of the world’s greatest treasures. This title is a part of a series of graphic novels featuring the best of Lara Croft’s adventures.

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, 310 pages, read by Brian, on 03/19/2015

graveFirst Grave on the Right is about Death.  I mean the person who sees dead people and takes them to there rightful place after they die.  Charley Davidson, is such Death, a grim reaper if you will, who moonlights as a private investigator. She is kind of lazy, smart-ass, and a heart of gold as she solves the murders of the recently deceased.

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison, 439 pages, read by Brian, on 03/18/2015

paleKim Harrison is a wonderful writer, her books are interesting, funny and suspenseful, Pale Demon is no different.  Rachel Morgan is condemned by the witches society for using black magic.  She has three days to travel across country to prove her innocence and not be sent to the demons.  Travelling with a vampire, elf, pixie and other assorted creatures trying to kill her, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.  Should it?

 

26. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen, 262 pages, read by Jessica, on 03/24/2015

91sXt2gX6UL._SL1500_Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is FORBIDDEN. ***

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiance and the location–the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil–are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch–where her fiance awaits her–defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilization, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s–the pilot–only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiance, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan–the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

25. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paula, Thriller/Suspense

The Girl On The Train by Hawkins, Paula, 323 pages, read by Paula, on 03/24/2015

hw7.plRachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

I loved this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  Rachel is such a believable character.  She is an alcoholic.  And on the night Megan goes missing she’s drunk.  She knows she’s seen something.  But she can’t remember what.  Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing right up until the end.