03. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Science Fiction, Tammy · Tags: , ,

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher, read by Tammy, on 09/01/2014

emperor strikethFor all those fans of Star Wars who are also fans of the bard… comes this new trilogy of plays. This is the second book in the series that picks up the Elizabethan space adventure of young Luke and his trusty droids, C3-P0 and R2-D2. Told in beautiful verse and iambic pentameter experience the story of Star Wars as you never have before.

03. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Science Fiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher, read by Tammy, on 09/02/2014

jedi doth returnThe final play in this trilogy of Elizabethan space adventure. Complete with rebels, droids, a power mad emperor and a dashing young hero. All in iambic pentameter of course and
illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork.

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 09/01/2014

There are certain series I love but really wish I hadn’t discovered until the entire series is out. Why? Because I want to devour them all in one sitting of course. After having read the first two books in this series I was disappointed to find out I am going to have to wait until next year to read the next one. Ugh!!

Murder of Crows picks up where Written in Red left off. The citizens of the Lakeside Courtyard have successfully fought off the mercenaries who were coming to kidnap Meg and young Sam and take them back to the Controller. So one problem has been solved, but the bigger issues still remain. There are still lots of places with tensions running high between the terra indigene and the humans. There are more instances where the drugs gone over wolf and feel good have caused havoc. And now there are reports of tainted meat causing the same kinds of problems the drugs did. For those who know where the drugs are coming from this is disturbing news. The humans don’t seem to realize how tenuous their place is in the world and how short their time might be if they keep pissing off the Others. Meg’s prophecies are dark indeed and the future doesn’t look very good for the human population. Simon and the rest of the Lakeside Courtyard are trying to solve the problems before they escalate past the point of no return. They are working closely with the local police to find solutions and peace. It is not escaping the notice of other Courtyards or terra indigene. They are on the hunt for the Controller and the cassandra sangue he is using to poison the world. 

I think I might have loved this book just as much as Written in Red. Anne Bishop does such a fantastic job of building the worlds she creates and making them come alive. She also does a fantastic job of creating characters you come to love and cheer for. I thought it was interesting that in this book, as in the last, the Others are not the bad guys. The bad guys are the humans. Sure the Others do terrible things, but they are not human and the reader isn’t expected to look at them through a human lens. They are other and for the most part think of humans as prey and meat. They tolerate humans because humans provide some of the things they enjoy, but they do not need humans and most of them never want to be around them. That is why I love the dynamic between the Lakeside Others and the humans who work with them. It is meant to show an ideal; it is an experiment to see if humans and Others can tolerate each other enough to live peacefully. It makes for thrilling storytelling. 

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

Written in Red by Anne Bishop, read by Angie, on 08/31/2014

Namid created the world and all those in it. When Namid created humans they were given a small part of the world; it was only after they ventured out of their area that they realized they were not the dominate species. The rest of the world was controlled by the Others and the humans had to learn to live with them. The Others are shapeshifters, vampires, elementals and others who you really don’t want to know about. As the humans moved out into the world they negotiated settlements with the Others who controlled the areas. Soon there are human towns surrounded by the terra indigene who control the world. There are also human cities with terra indigeneCourtyards. The Others control the world and everything in it; they decide where the humans live, how long they live there and what resources they get. It is up to the humans to become more than prey. 

Meg is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who sees prophecies when her skin is cut. She has run away from the Controller who operated the compound where she lived and controlled all aspects of her life. She ends up at the Lakeside Courtyard where she meets Simon Wolfgard and is given the job of human liason. It is her responsibility to take in all the mail and packages the residents of the Courtyard receive and make sure they are properly distributed. Lakeside isn’t like other Courtyards in that they interact more with the humans. They have stores the humans can use and they have human employees. Meg’s presence changes the dynamic of the Courtyard in a way no one could have foreseen. She forms relationships with the Others and with the humans in their employee. But Meg has powerful enemies and they are not willing to let such valuable property fall through their hands. They are determined to return her to the Controller not matter the cost. 

Anne Bishop has again created a world and characters that suck you in and don’t let go. I loved the world she created in Namid and the creatures that inhabit it. It is very much our world with a different history. I like the new take on shapeshifters and vampires and the fact that we get to know their motivations and what they think of humans. I LOVED the elementals; they are my favorite characters in this series. The action of the book was great and I liked that this is a planned series so nothing was really tied up at the end of this book. It isn’t a cliff hanger, but there is a lot more story to tell in the future books in the series. I think the relationships between the charactesr and the world building are going to make this one of my favorite series. 

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags:

Omens by Kelley Armstrong , read by Angie, on 08/30/2014

Olivia Taylor-Jones has always lived a life of privilege and ease. She is the daughter of a powerful couple and engage to a powerful man. All that changes when it comes out she is adopted and the biological daughter of a notorious serial killer couple, Pamela and Todd Larsen. Olivia flees Chicago and ends up in Cainsville, a place of secrets and unknowns. She is taken in by the residents of this private town and soon becomes one of them. It is in Cainsville that she starts her investigations into her parent’s crimes. She isn’t sure if they are guilty or innocent, but she wants to find out more. Her mother gives her leads to investigate the last couple who were killed. Their killing was a little different from the others. Olivia is joined on her investigations by Gabriel who used to be her mother’s lawyer. He too has ties to Cainsville and the residents there. What they uncover doesn’t necessarily prove Olivia’s parents are innocent, but it does make them wonder what else is going on. 

Obviously as the first book in this series not all the reader’s questions are going to be answered. I am not sure if any of them were actually answered to tell you the truth. There is a lot going on in this book. You have the Larsens and whether or not they committed the crimes they are convicted of. You have the CIA and whatever experiments they were conducting. And then you have the people of Cainsville and whatever they are. Are they even human? Are they descendants of the fair folk from the British Isles or are they the fair folk? No idea. I think it was smart to leave the Cainsville part of the mystery pretty much up in the air. It is just barely touched on in this book and of course Olivia knows nothing of it except the fact that she can identify omens when others can’t. It is an interesting start to a series and one I am eager to read the rest of.

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

Brazen by Kelley Armstrong , read by Angie, on 08/29/2014

Nick is an omega wolf in the pack. He isn’t the smartest or the best fighter but he is an essential part of the pack. He has taken on the role of guardian for the three young werewolves that have joined the pack and has offered to help with the hunt for Malcolm Danvers. Malcolm is the bogeyman of the pack and he needs to be found and put down. Nick enlists the help of a supernatural detective agency and when they get in over their heads he and the lead detective Vanessa head off to Detroit. What follows is a game of cat and mouse between Malcolm and Nick with dead bodies, werewolf hunters, and cabal assassins.

I’m glad Nick has finally gotten a book of his own even if it is a short one. He has always been one of those characters in the background of Armstrong’s series so it is nice to see him take center stage for once. I was highly entertained by the developing relationship between Nick and Vanessa and glad to see Nick holding his own against Malcolm. I know Armstrong has ended the Otherworld series, but I feel like there will definitely be more to this story in future books.

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

Forbidden by Kelley Armstrong , read by Angie, on 08/29/2014

Morgan is on his way to New York to take a look at the North American Pack. He met Clay and Elena when they were in Alaska. He stops at a diner for dinner and starts to feel woozy so he thinks he needs to change. He takes off into the woods and changes into a werewolf. Unfortunately he still doesn’t feel well and he is found the next morning lying naked in the snow. Of course he is hauled off to jail and Clay and Elena are called in to rescue him. Once they get there things get even stranger. The local sheriff is a young woman with something to hide. Could it be all the bodies decomposing in the woods? Or whoever slashed the tires on their cars and broke into their rooms? Something is definitely going on and it is up to Clay and Elena to figure it out. 

This was a fun novella set in Armstrong’s Otherworld series. It gives us a little insight on how Morgan joined the pack and offered a strange mystery for our favorite werewolf pair to solve. The pack is definitely my favorite part of the Otherworld. They are really interesting and entertaining. Fans of Armstrong’s books will surely enjoy this one. 

01. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Dragon Avenger: Book Two of the Age of Fire by E.E. Knight, read by Kira, on 08/31/2014

index wistala_by_3l3ctr0head-d46r954 51pxnUyqBPL._ In this 2nd book, we hear the story of the dragon sibling Wistala, the female clutchling who survives the attack of the nest.  She attempts to rescue her father whom she finds near death on an outcropping.  She has an adventure with a cat, and eventually takes up  residence with a wise old elf named Rainfall, from whom she learns great wisdom and a gentleness of spirit.  She spends some time in a traveling circus learning to tell individual’s fortunes. Eventually she is able to manipulate the downfall of her parent’s and sister’s murder by gaining the trust of her enemy and setting him up for a fall.

29. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Mystery · Tags: ,

Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman, read by Courtney, on 08/18/2014

A young man is stranded in LA around Christmas time. After a brief tryst with an old acquaintance, the man feels like he isn’t ready to go back to the place he’s staying. He sits on a bench for a smoke when an older man walks up to him, asks him for a smoke and then offers him a story. The story is about a time before humans when the angels were still working out things like the concepts of “green” or “love”. The angels all lived in beautiful city in the sky. Each has their purpose as dictated by God. One day, an angel is found dead. It appears that the death is not from natural causes. Some say it might be suicide, but Raguel (the angel of vengeance and justice) thinks otherwise. Who could possibly have killed the angel and why?
This isn’t just any murder mystery. It’s the original murder mystery. The first murder, ever. And since it’s Neil Gaiman writing it, you know it’s going to be tragic and slightly humorous. The artwork is gorgeous and this particular edition has bonus features with commentary by artist P.Craig Russell, as well as early drafts of the artwork. Just because you think you know how it might end, doesn’t mean that there won’t be some completely unexpected twists and turns by the end. It’s a lovely graphic novel, even if it is a touch disturbing.

29. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Fantasy, Teen Books · Tags: ,

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, read by Courtney, on 08/02/2014

Gaiman wins again with this gorgeous little gem of a book. The story opens with a man on his way to a funeral in Sussex, the town of his youth. Upon his return, he is inexorably drawn to a house at the end of his lane. A house that he didn’t really remember until he was already walking up to it. As he gets closer, the memories resurface and he recalls a past so strange and mysterious that he can’t really fathom how he forgot it all in the first place.
You see, an evil was released in this sleepy little English town and the only person who could help our young narrator was a girl who lived at the end of the lane. Her name is Lettie Hempstock. She lives with her mother and grandmother. Lettie insists that the pond behind her house is, in reality, an ocean. Our narrator slowly recalls the details of this strange episode in his past as he sits by Lettie’s “ocean” as a grown man.
I don’t even really want to give away any of it, since this book is such a delightful journey to make on one’s own. Fans of Gaiman will naturally love this one. I sensed echoes of Sandman, Neverwhere and Coraline throughout and since these are works that I love through and through, these likenesses only served to make me even more enamored. Gaiman is such a wonderfully skilled writer, he doesn’t need hundreds of pages to create a fully realized tale. Indeed, this can easily be read in one or two sittings, though the atmosphere of the novel will linger long after the last page is turned.

29. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Apocalyptic, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, read by Courtney, on 07/22/2014

Temple has been on her own for a long, long time. She’s been living on an island lately, but the season is changing and it’s only a matter of time before the will have to move on. The zombies will come. So Temple takes off. She starts off attempting to stay with an established community, but accidentally kills a man in the process of defending herself from his advances. She is then forced to flee before the other men retaliate. Temple decides it’s better to move on her own. She picks up a companion, a man with special needs that she finds and feels compelled to help care for. Together, they embark upon a journey that takes them across the American South. They’ll meet a variety of other people and groups who have all adapted (or not adapted, as the case may be) to this post-apocalyptic and unforgiving landscape. All the while, the brother of the man killed by Temple is determined to track her down to exact his version of justice.
This book was amazing, particularly for a zombie novel. I’ve read a fair amount of zombie-related fiction, but nothing has ever had quite the same emotional impact that this book had. Of course, it’s really not so much about the zombies in the first place. It’s definitely Temple’s story. Temple is tough, street-smart and has the soul of a poet. The book opens on a moment that captivates Temple and fills her with a sense of wonder. Moments later, she’s smashing in the head of a zombie with a large rock. She’s compassionate to an extent, but survival is her primary motivation. And then there’s the fact that this book starts years after the zombie infection has taken hold. Temple doesn’t know who her parents were, she’s never seen the inside of a school. She doesn’t know how to read. She does, however, know how to survive. There’s also a running theme of religious imagery that is both poetic and thought provoking, particularly since it shares space with a setting that seems almost entirely devoid of happiness and hope. Highly recommended.

29. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann, read by Courtney, on 07/14/2014

It’s hard to even know how to describe this graphic novel. It takes some of the cutest illustrations you’ve ever seen and turns them into something utterly chilling. A community of storybook-esque characters find themselves marooned in what appears to be a giant forest. The reader, of course, knows that the characters are actually tiny and have sprung from the head of young girl’s corpse. Because it’s that kind of story. Situations that would normally be adorable in a fairy tale setting wind up having unspeakable consequences and every turn of the page can yield either clever or maudlin humor. This juxtaposition makes for a totally engrossing experience than can really only be seen/read to be truly understood.

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

Into the fire by Anne Stuart, read by Kim, on 08/27/2014

Determined to find the truth surrounding the mysterious death of her cousin Nate, Jamie Kincaid confronts Dillon, Nate’s darkly seductive best friend, to get answers, but when bizarre accidents begin to happen, Jamie wonders if Dillon is trying to hide something–or save her from being the next vict

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Short Stories · Tags:

Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong, read by Angie, on 08/27/2014

This is a fabulous collection of short stories and a novella set in Armstrong’s otherworld universe. It has been a while since I read a lot of the books in this series so placing the stories and characters was something of a challenge at times. However, these stories reminded me of how much I enjoy the world Armstrong has created. 

I received this book through NetGalley.

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Noelle

All I Love and Know by Judith Frank, read by Noelle, on 08/28/2014

Absolutely fantastic.  I give this book a starred review- Noelle

With the storytelling power of Wally Lamb and the emotional fidelity of Lorrie Moore, this is the searing drama of an American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and true love lost and found.

For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a contented domestic life in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a Jerusalem bombing, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.

The deceased couple have left behind two young children, and their shocked and grieving families must decide who will raise six-year-old Gal and baby Noam. When it becomes clear that Daniel’s brother and sister-in-law had wanted Matt and Daniel to be the children’s guardians, the two men find themselves confronted by challenges that strike at the heart of their relationship. What is Matt’s place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel’s complex feelings about Israel and this act of terror affect his ability to recover from his brother’s death? And what kind of parents can these two men really be to children who have lost so much?

The impact that this instant new family has on Matt, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure when its very basis has drastically changed? And are there limits to honesty or commitment–or love?

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Noelle

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman, read by Noelle, on 08/14/2014

Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.

With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Judy, Science Fiction · Tags:

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, read by Judy, on 08/27/2014

When Fat Charlie’s dad named something, it stuck.  Like calling Fat Charlie “Fat Charlie”.  Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can’t shake that name, one of the many embarrassing “gifts” his father bestowed–before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie’s life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things.  Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie’s doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew.   A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who’s going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun . . . just like Dear Old Dad.   And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

Because, you see, Charlie’s dad wasn’t just any dad.  He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god.   Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil.    Some said he could cheat even Death himself.

 

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Judy, Romance · Tags:

Fifty Shades Freed by E L James, read by Judy, on 08/20/2014

When unworldly student Anastasia Steele  first encounters the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey, it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably.  Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment.  Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all–love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future.   But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate.  Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity.  And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Judy, Romance · Tags:

Fifty Shades Darker by E L James, read by Judy, on 08/10/2014

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented  young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking though, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resit.  They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

28. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Judy, Romance · Tags:

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James, read by Judy, on 08/04/2014

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating.   The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him.  Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too — but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates.  For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control.   When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.