23. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones, 416 pages, read by Angie, on 06/19/2014

Sam Toop lives with his father in their funeral home Constable and Toop. Sam is different from most people in that he can see and hear ghosts. He is known as a “Talker” in the ghost community. Sam is surprised when his uncle Jack, who he didn’t know existed, shows up one night. Jack is on the run after killing a copper and Sam’s dad reluctantly lets him hide out. 

Lapsewood is perfectly happy to spend his afterlife shuffling paperwork for the Bureau. His afterlife is thrown into a tizzy when he is sent into the human realm to figure out what has happened to one of the Bureau’s agents. Lapsewood discovers that someone has been exorcising the residential ghosts in London and a house without its ghosts becomes contaminated with the Black Rot. Lapsewood teams up with a rogue ghost named Tanner to figure out what is happening to the ghosts of London. 

Sam and Lapsewood and Tanner all become embroiled in the case of the disappearing ghosts and the mysterious exorcist and must figure out who is behind it all. This entertaining book gives a new look at the afterlife and what kind of bureaucracy and dangers exist for ghosts. I like the uniqueness of the story. I do however think it is a little dense and could have been pared down a bit for this age group. It is a fun story with a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of danger and a bit of horror.

16. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Lord of Hawkfell island by Catherine Coulter, 403 pages, read by Kim, on 06/14/2014

Rorik is a Viking warrior, as fierce and savage as the North Sea during the winter solstice. Mirana is a Viking woman who loves birds, is more ingenious than most men, and loyal down to her toes. Her life changes utterly one fateful day when Rorik and his men come to Clontarf, a Viking fortress on the eastern coast of Ireland, to kill her half-brother. But she is the one taken as hostage to use as a pawn against him.

Rorik is the Lord of Hawkfell, an island off the east cost of Britain. The moment he brings his captive home, it seems that everything begins to fly out his control. The women are out to teach the men a lesson with the result that food is rank, Rorik’s family is out for Mirana’s blood, a murderer is on a loose, and a huge mongrel, Kerzog, dotes not only on his master but also on his master’s captive.

Rorik and Mirana are two strong-willed people, ardent in their opinions, who will have you rooting for both of them equally.

13. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 06/12/2014

Every night at twelve minutes to midnight the patients at Bedlam start writing. They do not awaken and do not remember what they wrote when they wake. The modern reader will recognize the writings as events of the 20th century. However, the story takes place in 1899 and the people reading the writings have no idea what they are. Penelope Treadwell is an orphan and a writer. She is the owner and managing editor of the Penny Dreadful paper and has created storytelling sensation Montgomery Flinch. Of course, Penny herself has penned all the writings so she has to hire an actor to portray Flinch in public. The readers of the Penny Dreadful would never believe a 13-year-old girl could write such amazing stories of horror and mystery. Penny is determined to solve the mystery of the Bedlam Midnight Papers. Her investigation leads her to Lady Cambridge, the Spider Lady of Kensington. Turns out Lady Cambridge is using spider venom on the Bedlam patients so they can see the future and she can control the future. Her schemes don’t stop there however, she wants to bring all of London into madness. Penny must do some incredible things in order to stop her.

I thought the majority of this book was wonderful. I loved the mystery of the Midnight Papers and how the writers could see into the future. I thought Penny was really smart and resourceful and determined. I was entertained by Monty, the actor hired to be Montgomery Flinch. I also thought Lady Cambridge was an interesting villain. Then I got to the last section of the book and I thought it all went a bit loopy. I like mysteries that are atleast a little bit believable. I can buy a mysterious spider whose venom allows the victim to have visions. That wasn’t bad. It was when another spider’s venom was ingested by the legendary writers of the day (Doyle, Wells, Haggard, Kipling, etc.) and they were able to infect everyone with the madness who read their words. That is when Edge lost me. I wish the ending could have been stronger as this book started out so well. Not sure it will bother kids as much as it bothered me, but it was still disappointing.

09. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Season of the Sun by Catherine Coulter, 384 pages, read by Kim, on 06/09/2014

Zarabeth, with hair as red as an Irish sunset, is chosen by Magnus Haraldsson, a Viking on a trading visit to York, to be his wife. She is both stunned and fascinated by his bluntness, but is soon won over by this man who makes her laugh, brings her desire, and ultimately makes her trust him with her future and that of her little sister, Lotti. But her stepfather, Olav the Vain, has no intention of setting a bride price on Zarabeth.

Zarabeth does eventually return with Magnus to his farmstead in Norway, but as his slave, not as his wife. She wears the slave collar around her neck for all to see, but bears his distrust of her and her own pain deep within her.

It is the season of the sun in Norway, the clear midnight light of summer. It is a season of growth and flowering, of treachery and malice, of love and learning.

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

Lover's Gold by Kat Martin, 343 pages, read by Kim, on 06/06/2014

A passionate woman …
When a hired gunman came to her small Pennsylvania town, Elaina McAllister knew with one look at his glinting blue eyes that she could never love this insolent stranger. But against all will, she found herself aching for his touch …

An insatiable man …
He masked his true feelings behind a teasing seduction, but Ren Daniels knew this tender beauty had captured his heart. Destiny would tear them apart when Elaina finds a golden fortune in the Colorado hills–and becomes the toast of San Francisco’s glittering high society. But she yearns for her roguish lover, and for the fire of their everlasting passion.

05. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Steam-punk

Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino, 313 pages, read by Angie, on 06/01/2014

Uncrashable Dakota is an alternate history/steampunk middle grade adventure novel. During the Civil War, Samuel Dakota discovered the power of flight. Seems a certain kind of beetle really likes whiskey soaked sap. You feed it to them and they can fly. Put the beetles in a ship and the ship flies. This discovery ended the Civil War years early, started the flight industry in the 1860s and allowed Lincoln to live to be an old man. Fast forward to 1912 and Dakota Aeronautics is getting ready to launch its biggest ship ever, the Dakota. On board is the elite of society as well as the general public. The Dakota family, consisting of Hollis and his mom and her new husband and his son Rob, are ready to set sail with the ship. During the voyage the ship is hijacked and Hollis, Rob and their friend Delia have to save the day.

This was a pretty hefty book with a lot going on. Not only do we have the hijacking story, but there is also a lot of backstory for when Samuel Dakota invented flight. I thought it was pretty inventive to have beetles be the mode of flight, especially ones who like to eat whiskey sap. There was definitely a Titanic vibe to this story (giant ship, best of its kind, supposedly unsinkable/uncrashable, disaster). I do with the book would have been just a tad shorter or better edited. I think a lot of the story of the kids running around the ship could have been condensed. That being said I also wish the ending would have been expanded a bit. You have 300 pages of the hijacking and just a couple pages of the crash and its aftermath. I also thought the story of Rob and his father kind of went off the rails a bit and its ending was just about the worst thing in the book. I think the book had potential and it was an enjoyable read, but the ending was too rushed with too many loose ends for my tastes. 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

05. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Award Winner, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books

The Chosen by Chaim Potok , 304 pages, read by Tammy, on 06/03/2014

chosenA beautifully written story of two teenage Jewish boys who become friends even though they are from different Jewish traditions. The narrator, Reuven, is from a modern Orthodox Jewish family with an intellectual Zionist father. While Danny is an academically gifted son and heir to a Hasidic rebbe. Set in 1940s Brooklyn the two young men form a deep friendship that lasts into adulthood. They struggle through adolescence, family conflicts and crisis of faith during the Holocaust when the stories reach the U.S. together. The two fathers clash over intellectual and spiritual matters and of course have conflicts between themselves and their sons. Though the book explores religious differences between the two Jewish traditions the struggles reflect on issues we all face no matter what religion or family background.

 

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Madeline

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman, 352 pages, read by Madeline, on 05/29/2014

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman’s finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.

02. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

A lady of the west by Linda Howard, 384 pages, read by Kim, on 06/01/2014

Only true love could redeem….

Victoria Waverly, noble daughter of the war-ruined South, is sold in marriage to a ruthless rancher. Honor and pride help her endure life as a wife in name only but nothing can quench her forbidden desire for hired gunman Jake Roper. His gaze is hard, but tenderness he can’t hide promises to unveil to Victoria the mysteries of love.

Only true love can destroy….

Jake curses his burning need for Victoria, for he wants nothing to stand in the way of his drive to reclaim Sarratt’s Kingdom — the ranch that is his legacy and obsession. But ancient wrongs and blazing passions will bind together the aristocratic beauty and the powerful cowboy. In a bloody land war, they will fight for Jake’s birthright…and seize at all costs the love that is their destiny.

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Sweet vengeance by Kat Martin, 372 pages, read by Kim, on 05/29/2014

A woman driven by the fires of vengeance…a man consumed by the flames of desire…a passion as dangerous as it is irresistible…

With her cascading raven curls and sleek, sinewy curves, Jocelyn Asbury was a woman any man would want. And Rayne Garrick, 4th Viscount Stoneleigh, wanted Jocelyn…in his arms, and in his bed. He’d found her among a ragtag band of scamps and cutthroats, and saved her from a fate worse than death. But even as she yielded to him with a blazing hunger that matched his, she would soon betray him…in a night of shocking violence that would plunge them both into a world of treachery, danger, and all-consuming passion.

From the teeming slums of London to its scandalous salons and dazzling ballrooms, from a vast estate on Hampstead Heath to the stone walls of Newgate Prison and a magnificent plantation on the shores of Jamaica, her is Kat Martin’s most thrilling, sensual tale yet!

01. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kim, Romance

Devil's prize by Kat Martin, 388 pages, read by Kim, on 05/31/2014

They Played For High Stakes–Passion, Honor, And Revenge… 
Damien, Lord Falon, made his ruthless proposal to Alexa Garrick at a gaming table where he’d cheated the exquisite young heiress out of a fortune–one night with him would discharge her debt. Yet, as claimed his prize, the handsome earl fought a craving for more than Alexa’s body..and when a twist of fate turned seduction into matrimony, rapture and rage warred within him. How could he love the woman whose flirtation had destroyed his brother? 
Alexa knew of Damien’s French blood, scandalous liaisons, and the whispers that branded his a smuggler. Though she was playing with fire, the dark, devilish earl’s hungry embrace plucked at her heartstrings with a haunting song of desire. But was Damien spinning a web of deceit and treason, as he brought her to his surfswept castle? 
From London’s glitter to the dangerous decadence of Napoleon’s Paris, Kat Martin will dazzle you with her riches, most sensuous romance ever!

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

Gypsy Lord by Kat Martin, 375 pages, read by Kim, on 05/28/2014

He was Dominic Edgemont, Lord Nightwyck, heir to the Marquis of Gravenwold. But he was also a dark-eyed, half-gypsy bastard…

When tall, handsome Dominic sees one of his Romany band whipping a beautiful, flame-haired captive, he never dreams she is a pampered heiress stolen fro the English court. To have her, he will pay a king’s ransom and make himself her lord.

Lovely Catrina forbids Dominic her bed, but her fiery temper is no match for his cool determination to take her as his lover. Still, she will not be passion’s slave forever. She and her Gypsy Lord will meet again-in a glittering London setting, far from the rustic tent they shared. Will her desire for revenge overwhelm her natural urge to love?

28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Noelle

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, 546 pages, read by Noelle, on 05/27/2014

I swear I’m not trying to read all of the books from Oprah’s club, it just so happens to be working out that way recently.  I loved this book, and I particularly loved the character Adah’s narration.

In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo — a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture. Set against one of the most dramatic political events of the twentieth century — the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium and its devastating consequences — here is New York Times-bestselling author Barbara Kingslover’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and unforgettable epic that chronicles the disintegration of family and a nation.

 

28. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Noelle · Tags: , ,

Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, 373 pages, read by Noelle, on 05/16/2014

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

 

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

Natchez flame by Kat Martin, 422 pages, read by Kim, on 05/27/2014

A woman of courage and honor. She sold everything she owned to go west and marry a powerful land baron she’d never seen. But Priscilla Wills hadn’t counted on the gunfight or the gunfighter who would change her life: the tall, broad-shouldered man who killed her guardian in self-defense. Reluctantly he agreed to take her through the dangerous Texas back country to her fiance’s ranch. She hadn’t planned on a journey that would take her into a stranger’s soul as he delivered her into another man’s waiting arms.

A man who lived by the gun. He was an outlaw yet Brendan Trask unleashed in the prim and proper Priscilla a fiery passion that matched his own. But a man running for his life couldn’t afford a woman who hungered for the security that only her wealthy fiance could provide.

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

Savannah heat by Kat Martin, 448 pages, read by Kim, on 05/25/2014

Despite her disguise as Silver Jones, tavern maid, Lady Selena Hardwich-Jones was captured by bounty hunters combing the Georgia cost for the runaway with hair pale as spun silver and eyes like soft brown velvet. Forced onto a ship headed for her home in the West Indies, Silver vowed to make her break for freedom. But in the vessel’s brash owner she found a will to match her own. Major Morgan Trask was determined to deliver his lovely human cargo safely to the aristocrat he had long admired.

Was the ship’s dashing captain Silver’s stern captor–or her gallant protector? Tormented by doubts, tantalized by desire, Silver’s emotions were in turmoil. For a secret shame kept her from telling Morgan. Trask the real reason for her flight, all the while fearing–and yearning –to trust him.

As they sailed into treacherous waters, their very lives in peril, Silver and Morgan could no longer deny their hunger for each other … as they surrendered to a passion that burned hotter than the Savannah heat.

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

Creole Fires by Kat Martin, 432 pages, read by Kim, on 05/24/2014

When a former Southern debutante arrives at the plantation of a wealthy New Orleans landowner, as his servant no less, a fire is ignited in this steamy historical romance.

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

The fire inside by Kat Martin, 408 pages, read by Kim, on 05/23/2014

Kassandra “Kitt” Wentworth was no ordinary young woman. Headstrong and rebellious, this daughter of a viscount had no intention of obeying her father, submitting to a husband … or falling in love. But she never thought a man like Clayton Harcourt would pursue her. As the bastard son of a wealthy duke, Clay was no stranger to scandal. Taking a wife was not his plan, but Kitt’s wild spirit drew him like a flame in the darkness, and the gossip swirling around her awakened a desire to tame and protect her. When Clay lays a trap for marriage, Kitt can’t help but surrender to the passion he stirs within her. But will a secret from her past keep her from trusting her heart to the magnificent rogue who arouses her most burning desires?

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.

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?