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

Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, read by Kim, on 05/18/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang, read by Kristy, on 04/15/2014

China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from “foreign devils.”

Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils”–Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

07. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Kristy, Teen Books

Saints by Gene Luen Yang, read by Kristy, on 04/20/2014

China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn’t even given a proper name by her family when she’s born. She finds friendship–and a name, Vibiana–in the most unlikely of places: Christianity. 

But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie…and whether she is willing to die for her faith.

07. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kristy

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiménez, read by Kristy, on 04/30/2014

These independent but intertwined stories follow a migrant family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots – and back again – over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family of four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endures.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge, read by Lisa, on 04/30/2014

Penelope Tredwell is the feisty thirteen-year-old orphan heiress of the bestselling magazine. The Penny Dreadful. Her masterly tales of the macabre are gripping Victorian Britain. even if no one knows shes the real author. One day a letter she receives from the governor of the notorious Bedlam madhouse plunges her into an adventure more terrifying than anything she ever imagined – A thriller with a fast-paced cinematic style. Twelve Minutes to Midnight is an electrifying story from an exciting new author.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Lisa

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier, Marc Lizano (Illustrations), Greg Salsedo (Ink), Alexis Siegel (Translator), read by Lisa, on 04/07/2014

In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.

Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

The Chosen by Chaim Potok, read by Claudia, on 04/01/2014

It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….

Potok’s first novel, The Chosen, was published in 1967, and he quickly won acclaim for this best-selling book about tensions within the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities. This and later books have been both critically and popularly successful. Many of them explore the meaning of Judaism in the modern era, focusing on the conflict between traditional teachings and the pressures of modern life. The Chosen was nominated for a National Book Award in 1967 and made into a successful film in 1982. Its sequel, The Promise (1969) was the winner of an Athenaeum Award.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

Privateer's Apprentice by Susan Verrico, read by Leslie, on 04/08/2014

14432994

From Charles Towne, Carolina Territory, in 1712, thirteen-year-old Jameson Cooper, orphaned and indigent, is abducted by privateers working for Queen Anne but proves himself worthy to be called a royal sailor through his writing and drawing skills, as well as his hard work and courage.

I find that this will be a book that appeals to boys, not really sure about the girls, however, as it really has no female characters to speak of.  I think that if the reader pays attention, they may get quite a life lesson from this book, to take pride in whatever work you find yourself doing.  Full of adventure, a little suspense, I did enjoy the story.

01. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Noelle

Alexandria by Lindsey Davis, read by Noelle, on 04/28/2014

Little known fact about me:  I was a Latin nerd in high school.  I still heart ancient Rome.   I was in the mood for something along these lines this month, and a Marus Didius Falco mystery did the job.  The plot dragged a little at times, and there were a few elements of the ridiculous (scholar eaten by crocodile), but the Latin nerd inside me thoroughly enjoyed it.

In first century A.D. Rome, during the reign of Vespasian, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private “informer,” often for the emperor, ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations with their wives, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, with others in tow, travel to Alexandria, Egypt. But they aren’t there long before Falco finds himself in the midst of nefarious doings—when the Librarian of the great library is found dead, under suspicious circumstances. Falco quickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings, malfeasance, deadly professional rivalry, more bodies and the lowest of the low—book thieves! As the bodies pile up, it’s up to Falco to untangle this horrible mess and restore order to a disordered universe.

30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Sekret by Lindsay Smith, read by Courtney, on 04/25/2014

Yulia’s parents used to be nomenklatura, members of the Soviet elite. Now, Yulia lives with her mother and brother, her father’s whereabouts unknown. They’ve been on the run, eluding the KGB, for several years. Then, on a day much like any other, Yulia uses her ability to read minds in order to get desperately needed supplies on the black market. Yulia senses something wrong and, before she can do anything about it, she is taken into custody by KGB operatives. It turns out that they had been specifically tracking Yulia for some time and not because of her parent’s former transgressions, but rather due to her psychic abilities. Yulia is forced to join a top-secret group of operatives with powers similar to hers. There, Yulia learns to block her own thoughts from being read and how to hone her own skills for the purposes of espionage. Yulia knows they have her mother and brother and she has been promised time with them as a reward for her cooperation. As if that weren’t incentive enough, the man in charge of their group, Rostov, is known as a “scrubber” and is able to “scrub” the thoughts right out of someone’s brain, only to be replaced with thoughts of his choosing. Yulia and her comrades manage to expose a traitor with connections to the CIA, only to discover that the traitor has had memories erased by another scrubber. This other scrubber appears to have even more power than Rostov. He’s also looking for Yulia. If this scrubber, who works for the enemy, is more powerful than the USSR’s scrubber, then Yulia’s not safe anywhere.
I found Secret to be both unique and fascinating. I’ve read quite a few books involving mind reading and other psychic powers, but this is by far the most realistic use of such powers that I’ve come across. The Soviet backdrop (a real dystopia!) is detailed and well-researched. Much of the plot centers around real events from the Cold War era (the space race, Cuban Missile Crisis). Further, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the KGB was doing research on physic abilities during this era(mainly in response to the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program), which makes this a fantastic merging of the paranormal and the historical. A cliff-hanger ending sets this up for a sequel.