26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags:

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake, 464 pages, read by Angie, on 01/24/2015

Shelby Cooper tells us from the beginning what is going to happen to her. We know she will get hit by a car. What we don’t know is why or what will happen as a result. She gets hit by a car because she is deaf and did not hear it coming. What happens is that she and her mom go on the run and are chased by the FBI across Arizona. There is also a whole thing where Shelby has waking dreams where she is in “The Dreaming”, a Native American type spirit walk where she has to kill the crone and save the child. She has a spirit guide in Coyote, who also happens to be the cute boy Mark she meets at the library. The dreaming helps her come to terms with her life in the real world.

I am not sure what I think about this book. Part of me was really frustrated with the whole dreaming bits and how they kept pulling me out of the story. The other part of me really kind of enjoyed the real bits of the story. While I might not have liked Shelby as a character, she is sarcastic and rude and has definite body image problems. I did like the path her story took. I never knew what was coming next in this crazy ride Nick Lake created. I know his big thing is dual storylines (In Darkness), but I don’t think it was really necessary in this case. I didn’t believe the dreaming like I thought I was intended to and I just wanted those parts to end so we could get back to the real story. It was a compelling read however and I really couldn’t put it down.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Mystery · Tags: ,

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro, 355 pages, read by Katy, on 01/25/2015

28f66df71805c678fc6eb7a13446aecdOn March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art today worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

From www.goodreads.com.

17. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Secret of the Mountain Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 01/16/2015

Jax lives at the bottom of a mountain in the Catskills. She loves exploring the mountains, but ever since her younger sister Kizzy almost drowned her mother hasn’t let her have the freedom she once enjoyed. Then one day a giant dog appears and adopts Jax. That same night she sees lights in the old building up the mountain. When she goes to explore she discovers Yeshi and Rinpoche, two Buddhist monks who are going to reopen the monastery. First they have to find a missing statue. The statue is a protector demon that was stolen from a monastery in Tibet. A mysterious man is also looking for the statue, but he doesn’t want to return it to Tibet. Jax ends up defying her mother and heading up the mountain in a storm to warn the monks about the mysterious man. Jax and Yeshi have to decipher the prophecy about the statue and find it before the man does and before he unleashes the demon.

This was a nice, quick read. The story is fast-paced with a lot of action and intrigue. I really enjoyed the fact that Yeshi and Rinpoche were Buddhist monks, that is not something you see a lot in middle grade fiction. It gave a nice introduction to the Buddhist faith and philosophy without being too much. There is a bit of a supernatural element with the demon that added a spooky element to the story as well. I liked how the friendship between Jax and Yeshi seemed to develop naturally even though it turned out Yeshi had a higher calling.

14. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal · Tags:

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell, 336 pages, read by Kira, on 01/13/2015

B1050_HexesHemlines-137x137 imagesAnother enjoyable mystery by Juliet Blackwell.  Minor peeve, I wish that the main character, the witch Lily would NOT have so easily dismissed the danger happening to  various characters.  Sometimes there’s a fine line between courageous and foolhardy.  The mystery was Not crafted as well as the first book.  I did like the continuing background information on Lily’s childhood though.  Not as good as the first title in the series.  I hope to see more of Beowulf, the cat.

14. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kim B, Mystery

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 560 pages, read by Kim B, on 01/05/2015

gone-girl-book-cover-med2-23664_186x186Gone Girl was a cleverly written book and very hard to put down once I began reading it. Flynn made you believe in the husband’s guilt almost from the start until she did an about-face with both her characters. I have to say that I wish the ending were slightly different. I did not like either one of the main characters after I finished reading and felt they deserved one another. I sympathized with the poor baby yet to be born having two such parents. Yet, perhaps our dislike of the characters at the end of their story is what the author intended.

 

13. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Mystery, Paranormal

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein , 416 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/12/2015

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all.

Description from Goodreads.com.

12. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells, 256 pages, read by Angie, on 01/09/2015

Edmund Lonnrot is a middle school student at a prestigious school in New York. He is in danger of going to public school after his dad loses his job. Edmund definitely doesn’t want that to happen. One afternoon while he and his dad are getting ice cream they become witnesses to an assault. Edmund’s photographic memory allows him to accurately draw a picture of the assailant. Turns out the guy is part of an art thief gang that the police are trying to catch. Suddenly, Edmund’s skills are in demand to help identify the gang members and catch them before they pull off their heist. Edmund becomes Eddie Red and starts spending a lot of time in museums. Eddie feels like the police are keeping information from him so he enlists the help of his friend Jonah to solve the case. Turns out the police are way off base so it is up to Eddie and Jonah to stop the thieves.

There was something a bit old-school about this caper that I really enjoyed. I liked that Eddie and Jonah had to be as smart as the thieves to figure out what was going on. I thought it was interesting how misguided and resistant the police were to Eddie’s help, but I guess I wouldn’t want a kid telling me how to do my job either. I appreciated the fact that Eddie’s parents were in the picture and actually interested in what he was doing. That was a nice change from so many middle grade books where the parents always seem to be either dead or absent. This book sets up the Eddie Red series nicely and I am sure fans will be eagerly awaiting the next installment.

06. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Paula, Thriller/Suspense

Revival by Stephen King, 403 pages, read by Paula, on 01/03/2015

hw7.pl“In a small New England town over half a century ago, a boy is playing with his new toy soldiers in the dirt in front of his house when a shadow falls over him. He looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Jamie learns later, who with his beautiful wife, will transform the church and the town. The men and boys are a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls, with the Reverend Jacobs–including Jamie’s sisters and mother. Then tragedy strikes, and this charismatic preacher curses God, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from age 13, he plays in bands across the country, running from his own family tragedies, losing one job after another when his addictions get the better of him. Decades later, sober and living a decent life, he and Reverend Charles Jacobs meet again in a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and the many terrifying meanings of Revival are revealed. King imbues this spectacularly rich and dark novel with everything he knows about music, addiction, and religious fanaticism, and every nightmare we ever had about death. This is a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe”

King is still a master story teller.  This got my imagination going and I was scared half to death.  The suspense built like crazy towards the end.  Loved it!!

06. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Madeline, Mystery

Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline, 352 pages, read by Madeline, on 12/01/2014

The women of Rosato & Associates return, after the relaunch of the series that started with Accused. This second entry, Betrayed, stars Judy Carrier, who has had the starring role in only one previous Rosato book. When Betrayed opens, Judy Carrier finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has just become partner and is about to become a bride, leaving Judy vaguely out of sorts. She’s not jealous, but she’s not happy either and she’s wondering where her own career and love life are going. To make matters worse, she is rocked to her emotional foundations when she learns that her beloved Aunt Barb has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She races to her aunt’s side, and so does Judy’s mother, only to find that her aunt is dealing with the sudden death of a friend who had been helping her through chemo. The friend, Iris Juarez, was an undocumented worker at a local farm, but her death doesn’t look natural at all, to Judy. Judy begins to investigate, following a path that leads her into an underground world far more dangerous than she ever imagined. Judy has to dig to uncover what happened to Iris, and at the same time unearth the secrets in her own family.

description from Goodreads.com

06. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, 272 pages, read by Brian, on 01/02/2015

sharpSick. Twisted. Disturbing. I liked this book very much. You have to wonder what kind of sick puppy thinks of these things. Talking about it ruins it. Just read it. Not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell., 336 pages, read by Kira, on 01/03/2015

imagesLily Ivory, a witch, runs a vintage clothing shop.  Against her wishes, she is gifted a familiar who takes the form of a pig.  During the course of  her days she discovers…

I like the nuanced characters, and the fact that Lily is a very strong protagonist.  I also liked that the villain was difficult to spot or figure out – though the clues were there.  I very much enjoyed this fulfilling mystery.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Greenglass House by Kate Milford, 384 pages, read by Angie, on 12/27/2014

I really wish I had been snowed in while reading this book. I would have been the perfect book to be reading while cozy on the couch with a quilt and hot chocolate as the world turned white outside. As it wasn’t snowing, I still enjoyed my couch and quilt while reading this book. Greenglass House is a hard book to categorize as it seems to shift about or meander every which way depending on its mood. I had a hard time pinning down if it was set in the real world or an alternative and whether it is in the past or the present. But in the end it did not matter. I enjoyed Milo’s story thoroughly and would definitely recommend it.

Milo lives with his adoptive parents in Greenglass House, an inn that caters to smugglers and is difficult to get to. He is looking forward to a quiet Christmas with just mom and dad. Then the guests start arriving, one after another. Milo’s quiet Christmas disappears as a strange group takes up residence in the inn. The cook is recalled along with her daughter and granddaughter, Meddy. Milo and Meddy are the only kids in the house and on their own for a lot of the time. Meddy introduces Milo to a role playing game and they don their new identities of Negret and Sirin. These new identities come in handy when items start disappearing from the guests and someone starts sabotaging the inn. They must figure out who the guests really are, what they are looking for at the inn, and who is behind the thefts.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most was Milo’s transformation throughout the book. He goes from being a quiet, unassuming boy to a confident detective. He gains confidence in himself and his place in the world through the investigation and Meddy’s influence. I also liked that his parents are present and an active part of his life. He is adopted and that fact weighs on him but never makes him doubt his place in the family. This is a longer book and because it doesn’t fit with conventional genres may lose some readers, but those who stick with it are in for a treat.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely, 352 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/23/2014

A Song to Die For — a rousing tale mixing love, music, and mystery from Spur Award–winning author Mike Blakely.
It’s 1975 and guitarist and singer/songwriter Creed Mason hopes to ride the new wave of Texas-style, Austin-based country music all the way back to the big time. A one-hit wonder whose Nashville career was cut short by a trip to Vietnam, Creed is desperate to get back into the business.  His break arrives when a country legend, Luster Burnett, comes out of a fifteen-year retirement for one last album and tour in order to pay off a huge debt to the I.R.S. As Luster’s new guitarist and band manager, Creed jumps at the chance of a lifetime.

Rosa Martini, a beautiful young mob princess from Las Vegas, is found dead just outside of Austin. Texas Ranger Captain Hooley Johnson looks into the case, only to find a second young woman murdered—a friend of Rosa’s. To complicate things, Rosa’s adoptive brother, mob hit man Franco Martini, is spotted nosing around Austin in the wake of the murders.

Soon it appears to Johnson, and to Creed, that the mob-related murders and the band are somehow connected.  When the band wins an unexpected booking at the biggest casino in Vegas, Creed begins to wonder what kind of contract his band is being set up for—a major-label recording deal, or a mob hit? (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Tracy, Westerns

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson, 183 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/18/2014

Ten years ago, Craig Johnson wrote his first short story, the Hillerman Award–winning “Old Indian Trick.” This was one of the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Johnson’s bestselling, award-winning novels and the A&E hit series Longmire. Each Christmas Eve thereafter, fans rejoiced when Johnson sent out a new short story featuring an episode in Walt’s life that doesn’t appear in the novels; over the years, many have asked why they can’t buy the stories in book form.

Wait for Signs collects those beloved stories—and one entirely new story, “Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Bighorns”—for the very first time in a single volume, regular trade hardcover. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide,” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Port-A-Potty, Wait for Signs is a necessary addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming. (description from Goodreads.com)

03. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Mystery

Sacrifice Fly by Tim O'Mara, 307 pages, read by Katy, on 01/01/2015

thRaymond Donne wasn’t always a schoolteacher. Not only did he patrol the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as one of New York’s Finest, but being the nephew of the chief of detectives, he was expected to go on to bigger things. At least he was until the accident that destroyed his knees. Unable to do the job the way he wanted, he became a teacher in the same neighborhood, and did everything he could to put the force behind him and come to terms with the change.

Then Frankie Rivas, a student in Ray’s class and a baseball phenom, stops showing up to school. With Frankie in danger of failing and missing out on a scholarship, Ray goes looking for him, only to find Frankie’s father bludgeoned to death in their apartment. Frankie and his younger sister are gone, possibly on the run. But did Frankie really kill his father? Ray can’t believe it. But then who did, and where are Frankie and his sister? Ray doesn’t know, but if he’s going to have any chance of bringing them home safely, he’s going to have to return to the life, the people, and the demons he walked out on all those years ago.

From www.goodreads.com.

02. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell, 500 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/23/2014

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Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. In the days that follow, Scarpetta; her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley; and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city; an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew, and much, much too close to home.

I really enjoyed this Scarpetta book more than the last one I read.  This one had more twists and turns than I remember seeing in awhile.  Some of her books had gotten a bit predictable, almost bordering on typical and boring to me, but this one kept me on edge.  I recommend it to those who enjoy her books and those like it.

31. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction

Coming Home by Jack McDevitt, 358 pages, read by Eric, on 12/21/2014

Antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his assistant, Chase Kolpath, are back for another galaxy-spanning hunt for ancient artifacts, and to help rescue the travelers stuck on an interstellar liner, the Capella. The artifacts are from Earth, several thousand years in the past, during the early days of space exploration. The Capella is caught in a space/time warp, which has the liner resurfacing into normal space every few years, but only a for a short time, before being swallowed again by the warp. To the passengers and crew, only a day or two have passed.

McDevitt returns now and again to tell another of Chase and Alex’s adventures. I’ve lined up for each, but had a tough time getting into this one. The dual plots don’t intersect enough, to the point that I wished he had just focused on one, and fleshed it out. Much time was spent jumping back and forth to Earth, yet most of what they accomplished here didn’t matter much in the end. An average mystery, combined with a reasonably-exciting rescue adventure.

31. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Becky, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller/Suspense

Haunted by Kay Hooper, 310 pages, read by Becky, on 12/28/2014

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When Deacon James’s younger sister Melanie calls him, terrified, he goes to her aid in the small Georgia town of Sociable. What he finds is a scared young woman in the grip of what she insists is a paranormal nightmare–and murder. Two local men have been killed under mysterious circumstances. And Melanie is the prime suspect. Trinity Nichols left a high-stress job for quiet, small-town life. But news of the murders has left her–and the town–on edge, especially when there is nothing remotely ordinary about how the men died. And her investigation is yielding more than she bargained for, including a group of strangers who have descended on Sociable, some with abilities Trinity finds hard to believe, and agendas she refuses to trust. For some reason, they know a lot more than they should about what’s happening in town. And what’s happening is growing stranger by the minute. Now Trinity, Deacon, and this odd band of FBI agents must work together to solve a series of disturbances so incredible that Trinity, and the town of Sociable, will be changed forever. She just isn’t certain who–or what–will be left standing when it’s all over

29. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (Jane Austen Mysteries #12) by Stephanie Barron, 329 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/28/2014

jane austen  The newest Jane Austen mystery book out in time for your holiday reading pleasure. Jane discovers family secrets and murder during the twelve days of Christmas in Regency England. Jane, Cassandra and her mother are invited to spend the Christmas holiday with her brother James and his family in the home Jane grew up in. James is now the rector of their father’s church but unlike his fun-loving father is a serious minister who questions any holiday frivolity. The whole family is invited to to stay at The Vyne a nearby manor house. The ladies are thrilled with the chance to see the house again and become re-acquainted with their neighbors especially in a festive household. But international politics, love affairs and murder creep into even the fashionable of society and dampen the holiday spirits of all those staying at The Vyne. Will Jane discover who the murderer is and why before everyone goes their separate ways?

26. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 12/26/2014

the sth A blending of genres, this is a mystery set in medieval times, with a little bit of magic, and a large amount of Guy Noir (a more serious version).  Eddie LaCrosse is a sword for hire/detective with a tragic past (as far as women are concerned).  His childhood best friend, hires him to clear the queen of having murdered her own son. Not quiet sure how the title fits.  Great pacing, and an intriguing story, though I wish the female characters had been drawn more completely and less tending toward objects.  Eddie_LaCrosseeddielacrosse86efb52beeea082270089188ca448ce6