09. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Breakable by Tammara Webber, read by Jessica, on 07/08/2014

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.


As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

08. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Graphic Novel

Fairest, Volume 3: Return of the Maharaja by Sean E. Williams, et al, read by Courtney, on 06/28/2014

Ordinarily, I love anything in the Fables universe and the Fairest comics tend to be no exception. Until now. It’s not that the story arc is terrible, it’s just not that great. It’s also really tough to overlook the fact that the Fairest series was meant to shine a spotlight on the women of the Fables universe. Who takes center stage in this volume? Prince Charming. Yes, there is a female protagonist. Yes, she is capable of kicking butt. But it still reads like she’s there to be yet another love interest for Prince Charming. If this were Fables proper, this story arc might have worked all right, but in the context of Fairest, it’s almost insulting and definitely disappointing.

08. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Historical Fiction

The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert, read by Courtney, on 06/26/2014

In the fall of 1898, a young ventriloquist named Ferret Skeritt falls from the sky in a hot-air balloon and lands on the house of a pair of elderly sisters in rural Nebraska. He sustains a broken leg and a few other injuries, but nothing is as broken as his heart. Earlier in the year, Ferret was anticipating the beginning of the Omaha World’s Fair, much like the rest of the city. At the time, Omaha was a much smaller and rougher town. Ferret makes most of his living with his ventriloquist act, thanks in no small part to his elaborate puppet, Oscar. For extra change, Ferret offers his services as a letter writer, specializing primarily in love letters. One night, while hanging around the theater, Ferret briefly meets a young, beautiful actress named Cecily. They don’t even have a conversation, but Ferret is a man obsessed. He eventually tracks her down in the fair’s midway and they begin to fall in love. Things seem perfect for a time. Together, they explore the fair.
Enter Billy Wakefield, one of the wealthiest men in Omaha and one of the principal financiers of the fair. He takes notice of Ferret and Cecily, invites them to his fancy parties, attempts to buy Ferret’s puppet. At first, Ferret, blinded by the early onset of love, fails to notice Billy’s interest in Cecily. Later, as Cecily’s health begins to deteriorate, Wakefield intensifies his efforts, promising medications and the best doctors money can buy. Ferret isn’t sure what to believe, but he doesn’t trust Wakefield (though he does take advantage of the fact that Wakefield is willing to give him a large sum of money for his puppet, Oscar). Cecily, on the other hand, agrees to travel with Wakefield to “take the waters” at various hot springs. Ferret wallows in her absence, but naively believes she’ll recover.
The first 2/3rds of this book is fantastic. I’m an Omaha native and a bit of a history buff, so I recall visiting the local history museum as a kid and being captivated by images of the Omaha World’s Fair. When I heard about this book, I knew I wanted to read it for the historical elements, if nothing else. The details of the fair absolutely met (and probably exceeded) my expectations. I loved trying to imagine how the pavilion would have sparkled in the sun with its white paint, dusted with crushed glass. The titular swan gondolas floated upon a massive lagoon that stretched the length of the main pavilion. On the fringes were the midway; the seedier (and more intriguing) parts of the fair. As readers, we take this journey alongside Ferret. As the summer wears on, the fair begins to lose its luster, much like the love between Cecily and Ferret.
To get into my issues with the final 1/3rd of the book, I would have to spoil several plot points. Suffice it to say, the last portion reads like an extremely long epilogue that takes place in the winter after the fair. Things get convoluted and the pacing becomes inconsistent. A good deal of the last portion begins to weave in some “Wizard of Oz” references, but their inclusion doesn’t make as much sense in the context of the novel. I think that if this book had ended prior to the last section, it might have felt much more cohesive. Still, it’s a mesmerizing read with vivid detail that has hints of The Night Circus and Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s YA work.

08. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel

Transmetropolitan, Volume 4: The New Scum by Warren Ellis, read by Courtney, on 06/21/2014

The election looms closer, Channon is back and Spider continues to be, well, Spider. This one feels more transitory than some of the other stories, but I do enjoy the world-building. The level of detail in this series is truly astonishing.

08. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel

Transmetropolitan, Volume 3: The Year of the Bastard by Warren Ellis, read by Courtney, on 06/20/2014

Spider is covering one of the biggest stories of his life- the upcoming presidential election. The only problem is that he’s having trouble keeping himself going. He’s got fame and fortune, but that’s what drove him to exile last time. So now he’s got a campaign to cover and both parties desperately want his support. This series continues to be both smart, scathing and hilarious.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Pamela

Be careful what you wish for by Jeffrey Archer, read by Pamela, on 07/02/2014

cliftonWhen Ross Buchanan is forced to resign as chairman of the Barrington Shipping Company, Emma Clifton wants to take his place, but Don Pedro Martinez plans to install his puppet, the egregious Major Alex Fisher, so he can destroy the Barrington family firm once and for all. The talented Jessica Clifton, Harry and Emma’s adopted daughter, wins a scholarship to the Slade Academy of Art and falls in love with a fellow student, Clive Bingham, who asks her to marry him. Both families are delighted and preparations for the nuptials are well under way, when Charlotte Bingham, Jessica’s future mother-in-law, has a visit from an old friend, Lady Virginia Fenwick, who drops her particular brand of poison into the wedding chalice. But then, without warning, a man no one had ever heard of takes his place on the board of Barringtons and causes an upheaval that none of them could have anticipated. Cedric Hardcastle, a bluff Yorkshire banker, quickly decides who he should support, Emma Clifton or Don Pedro Martinez, and the story takes yet another twist.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Romance

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, read by Courtney, on 06/07/2014

Clementine’s life is normal enough, even a bit boring. Then she meets Emma and everything changes. They are passionately in love. Then a mistake accidentally outs Clementine to her parents, which evidently makes everything fall apart. The next thing the reader knows; they are adults and one of them has died.
The first half of this graphic novel is beautiful. The illustrations are lovely. Then we get to the end and everything feels extremely rushed. The tragic death felt cheapened by being somewhat unbelievable (or was that just a translation issue? I can’t really tell). Overall, decent but not life-changing.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Teen Books

Morning Glories: Deluxe Collection, Volume 2 by Nick Spencer, et al, read by Courtney, on 06/05/2014

The hit, epic series about a sinister boarding school and the kids trapped there, trying to solve the mysteries of time and space – presented once again in a beautiful, oversized, deluxe hardcover format, with copious bonus material including sketches, character designs, cover galleries, and more.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The Limehouse Text by Will Thomas, read by Tracy, on 06/30/2014

In The Limehouse Text, Barker and Llewelyn discover a pawn ticket among the effects of Barker’s late assistant, leading them to London’s Chinese district, Limehouse. There they retrieve an innocent-looking book that proves to be a rare and secret text stolen from a Nanking monastery, containing lethal martial arts techniques forbidden to the West. With the political situation between the British Empire and Imperial China already unstable, the duo must not only track down a killer intent upon gaining the secret knowledge but also safeguard the text from a snarl of suspects with conflicting interests. 

Prowling through an underworld of opium dens, back-room blood sports, and sailors’ penny hangs while avoiding the wrath of the district’s powerful warlord, Mr. K’ing, Barker and Llewelyn take readers on a perilous tour through the mean streets of turn-of-the-century London.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy · Tags:

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, read by Tracy, on 06/25/2014

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

A Likeness in Stone by Julia Wallis Martin, read by Tracy, on 06/20/2014

In the spellbinding tradition of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell, author Julia Wallis Martin crafts an intelligent, atmospheric British suspense novel as engrossing as it is original.

An entire house, long submerged in the dark waters of a reservoir, unearths a starting find: the corpse of Helena Warner, an Oxford college student who disappeared twenty years earlier. For former homicide detective Bill Driver, it means the reopening of a case that, in his mind, was never really closed. And Driver thinks he knows who did it. But three of Helena’s friends– her cold former lover Ian Gilmore, her jealous best friend Joan Poole, and talented but institutionalized artist Richard Wachmann– conspire to keep a decades-old, deadly secret from seeing the light of day…all the while, a killer continues to strike again and again.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, read by Tracy, on 06/06/2014

Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. 

Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too–and he’s certain he’s on the right trail. 

Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Tracy

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, read by Tracy, on 06/01/2014

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

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

Stolen by Shiloh Walker, read by Melody, on 07/06/2014

Shay Morgan has stayed hidden for a long time. Living a reclusive life in Earth’s End, Alaska, she’s as far away as she can get from the trauma of her childhood and the man who hurt her long ago. But terror takes over Shay’s life yet again when an unknown stalker steals away the fragile peace she’s built for herself—targeting not only her but the one man who’s ever managed to get past the walls she’s built around herself.
 
Elliot Winter has lived through being falsely accused before—it ruined his military career. Now it’s happening all over again. And this time, his accuser is a twisted impostor who’s targeting his ex-girlfriend, Shay. Despite a fierce mutual attraction, Shay and Elliot broke up because Shay couldn’t let her guard down, couldn’t let Elliot in. But now they both need to trust each other to confront a psycho who seems to know all their secrets.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Dying scream by Mary Burton, read by Kim, on 07/06/2014

An aspiring artist. A high-school senior. A stripper. Three women who seemed to have nothing in common except their sudden disappearance. But one man knew them all. Wealthy, privileged Craig Thornton even claimed to love them. And for that, they paid the ultimate price.

When Adrianna Barrington receives an anniversary card from her husband Craig, she assumes it’s a some crackpot’s idea of a joke. After all Craig is dead. But then come phone calls, flowers, messages…all reminding her how much Craig misses her. While Adrianna begins to doubt her sanity, grisly remains are found on the Thornton estate. Detective Gage Hudson is convinced the bodies are linked to Craig. But the biggest shocks are yet to come.

A psychopath has taken up his chilling work again, each death a prelude to the moment when she is under his control at last. And the only way for Gage and Adrianna to stop him is to uncover the truth about a family’s dark past–and a twisted love that someone will kill for again and again.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance

Naked edge by Pamela Clare, read by Kim, on 07/05/2014

The day Navajo journalist Katherine James met Gabriel Rossiter, the earth literally moved beneath her feet. Nearly killed in a rockslide while hiking, she found her life in the tall park ranger’s hands. Although she can’t forget him she thinks she’ll never see him again. She is crushed when she recognizes her rescuer among the law enforcement officers raiding a sweat lodge ceremony one night, throwing her and her friends off Mesa Butte, land they consider sacred.

Gabe long ago swore he would never again lose himself to a woman not even one with long dark hair and big eyes that seem to see right through him. But from the moment he first sees Kat, the attraction he feels is undeniable. Appalled by what he has been ordered to do, he’s determined to get to the bottom of recent events at Mesa Butte and to keep Kat safe.

But asking questions can be dangerous almost as dangerous as risking one’s heart. And soon Kat and Gabe’s passion for the truth and each other makes them targets for those who would do anything, even kill, to keep Native Americans off their sacred land.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance

The collector by Nora Roberts, read by Melody, on 07/05/2014

When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession.

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

My Skylar by Penelope Ward, read by Nikki, on 06/30/2014

From the author of the #1 bestselling romance, Jake Undone, comes a friends-to-lovers story of longing, passion, betrayal and redemption…with a twist that will rip your heart out.

Skylar was my best friend, but I secretly pined for her. One thing after another kept us apart, and I’ve spent the last decade in fear of losing her forever.

First, it was the cancer, but she survived only to face the unthinkable at my hands. Because of me, she left town. For years, I thought I’d never see her again.

But now she’s back…and living with him.

I don’t deserve her after everything I’ve put her through, but I can’t live without her. This is my last chance because she’s about to make the biggest mistake of her life. I can see it her eyes: she doesn’t love him. She still loves me…which is why I have to stop her before it’s too late.

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Bender by Stacy Borel, read by Nikki, on 06/15/2014

All Keegan wanted was a roommate who was quiet, minded their own business, and paid for part of the rent. Instead, she got Camden Brooks. 

Camden, with his sinful body, sharp tongue, and the inability to stay out of Keegan’s personal space, couldn’t seem to curb his interest in the new girl who wouldn’t put up with his domineering ways. 

Feelings were running rampant, sexual tension was thick, and both were struggling to let go of control. 

To some people, getting a roommate simply meant living with another person. But to both Camden and Keegan it was a curveball that neither was prepared to swing at. 

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Fighting to Forget by J.B. Salsbury, read by Nikki, on 06/10/2014

Every fighter is drawn to the violence, the release that a perfect hit can bring. 

But very few are drawn to the pain. 

Rex Carter lives behind a wall of indifference. The demons from his childhood act as an anesthetic, keeping him distant from emotional connections. Only the ache from a knock to the jaw, the sting of a tattoo needle, or the heat from a piercing can jolt him back from the numbness. The fiery pain is all he can feel, and nothing compares to the burn. 

Or so he thought. 

Working in a Las Vegas bar isn’t Georgia McIntyre’s dream. But she hopes it’ll be an end to the nightmare. 

She’s watched him, followed him and kept tabs, all in preparation for this moment: to make amends and share the secret she’s been carrying since she was a kid. But she didn’t count on the feelings that seeing him again would stir up, the vacant look in his stormy-blue eyes, and his perfect body now mutilated by ink and metal. 

And she knows why. She’s lived his pain every single day, since the day he left. 

Changed by time, Rex doesn’t remember the girl from his past. If only she could do the same. 

Will she get the absolution she’s spent her life seeking? 

Or will he continue Fighting to Forget?