29. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 03/28/2015

Truly Lovejoy comes from a long line of Lovejoys. When her father is injured in Afghanistan and loses his arm, the family picks up and moves to his hometown in New Hampshire. JT can’t be a pilot with only one arm and his injury has turned him into Silent Man. Truly misses her joking father and feels like she is invisible in her family of seven. It doesn’t help that her math grades are bad and she has to be tutored by her dad before he will let her join the swim team.

JT and his sister True have taken over the family bookstore, Lovejoy’s Books, while their parents join the Peace Corp. Truly isn’t thrilled with leaving Texas or her best friend. In Pumpkin Falls, she tries to go into stealth mode, but being 6-feet tall and new in a small town she definitely stands out. She is soon friends with Lucas and Cha Cha and solving a 20-year-old mystery. While helping out in the shop she finds an unmailed letter in a first edition of Charlotte’s Web. The clues in the letter lead the friends allover Pumpkin Falls and introduces them to a lot of interesting characters around town.

I really enjoy small town books with quirky characters and Pumpkin Falls seems to have its share. There is the busybody postmistress, the bag lady who seems to carry kittens in every pocked and the helicopter mom who can’t seem to let Lucas grow up. Pumpkin Falls also has a winter festival and a required cotillion for the middle schoolers. Then there is the frozen waterfalls and the fact that the town was founded by a Lovejoy. It all adds up to an interesting story. I liked the fish-out-of-water aspect of Truly’s tale and the fact that her dad is a wounded warrior. I thought the mystery aspect wasn’t that interesting and didn’t really add much to the story; however, the rest of it was really entertaining and a fun read.

27. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery · Tags: ,

Big little lies by Liane Moriarty, 458 pages, read by Katy, on 03/27/2015

9780698138636_p0_v2_s260x420Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

From www.goodreads.com. 

25. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paula, Thriller/Suspense

The Girl On The Train by Hawkins, Paula, 323 pages, read by Paula, on 03/24/2015

hw7.plRachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

I loved this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  Rachel is such a believable character.  She is an alcoholic.  And on the night Megan goes missing she’s drunk.  She knows she’s seen something.  But she can’t remember what.  Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing right up until the end.

 

22. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Mariah, Mystery

Small Favor by Jim Butcher, 423 pages, read by Mariah, on 03/22/2015

I am already a fan of Jim Butcher’s writing, and Small Favor is one of the even better stories. The wizard for hire, Harry Dresden, is caught up in a fast-paced adventure from the very first pages. Fae from the court of the Summer Queen begin attacking Harry while he is training his apprentice. Though it is unclear why Summer Fae are after his blood, Harry has upset enough of the Summer royalty to make some pretty good guesses. The Winter Queen appears to be helping the harassed wizard, but her help comes unsolicited and at a very high price. This is all a sideline to the main plot and problem of the tale. Fallen angels, known as Denarians, have come up with a plan that may make it possible for them to bring about the destruction of the world. By kidnapping a little girl known as the Archive, who is receptacle of all written knowledge, the Denarians would be able to wreak massive damage. Harry Dresden must evade the wrath of the Summer Court, neutralize the “help” of the Winter Court, and fight a handful of fallen angels with god-like powers.

Small Favor is book #10 in the series the Dresden Files. Each book in this series has its own plot arc and resolves by the end. However, the characters are well written, well developed, and return in most books. The familiar characters and plot elements which cause character growth make it more enjoyable to read the books in order. I would recommend the Dresden Files to any fantasy reader. Butcher uses tried and true fantasy creatures and adds in new ideas, also. He also has a nice mesh of fantasy and modern crime, since the main character works as a detective specializing in missing items. I would caution, though, that the first book has a very slow start. The series is worthwhile if given a chance.

21. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Award Winner, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Mariah, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

Doll Bones by Holly Black, 244 pages, read by Mariah, on 03/19/2015

Three friends, Zack, Alice, and Poppy, play an imaginary game that seems to have all the best elements of fantasy. Making their own rules and using action figures, they write adventures that span weeks, months, and years. However, when Zack’s fathers decides Zack is too old for games with girls and dolls, everything changes. Zack is so angry and hurt that he handles the matter by refusing to deal with it. He tells Alice and Poppy that he no longer wishes to play their pretend epics and shuts himself off. The girls are hurt and bewildered. Then, late one night, Poppy and Alice show up at Zack’s window. Poppy has been suffering from evil dreams in which one of the dolls visits her. The doll, known as the Queen, claims she was made from the bones of a murdered child, and she will not leave them in peace until they bury her body in the proper place. Not knowing whether they really believe, the children set off on a dangerous adventure.

Children’s horror is not an overly populated genre, but Holly Black enters it with style and skill. The tale picks up quickly and keeps pace throughout the book. Revelations regarding the nature of the children’s changing relationships are woven seamlessly throughout the drama of being terrorized by a ghost. Dealing with the changes of life and maturity can be almost as frightening as supernatural events. In the end, the book was never too scary, too ridiculous, or too boring. I would recommend it to an older child, probably around middle school, who enjoys horror.

20. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Mystery, Tammy, Teen Books

Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers, 392 pages, read by Tammy, on 03/06/2015

inherit midnight   Seventeen-year-old Avery has been sent to a boarding school by her outlandishly wealthy Grandmother who has raised her. She is the ostracized illegitimate granddaughter of a drunk son and has no love for her cousins or uncles. She rarely sees her father. Now her Grandmother has set up a competition to see who deserves to inherit the entire VanDemere fortune. It’s family member against family member as they race around the globe and solve puzzles from the mines of Venezuela to the castles of Scotland. Since she is under 18 Avery has to be accompanied by an adult. Riley the son of her Grandmother’s lawyer goes along. But is her to help her or just protect his father’s interests at staying employed by Grandma. Is she falling in love with him and further complicating things? If Avery loses she knows she’ll have to go back to the horrible boarding school but is that motivation enough to get her through all the challenges? Who will the one and only heir be? Who can Avery truly trust? And is winning worth her life?

12. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry, 213 pages, read by Angie, on 03/10/2015

Cady wakes up on the floor of a cabin with no memory of who she is or why she is there. She hears someone talking about “taking care” of her and knows she needs to find a way to escape. What follows is Cady’s race to find out who she is and why these guys want to kill her. She faces danger along the way, but she also finds help from unexpected sources. She meets Ty at a McDonalds and he immediately sets out to help her find out what is going on even though the men chasing her seem to be closing in on her. They do eventually find out who Cady is, but the bad guys seem to have created a smear campaign where she is either crazy or a murderer or a crazy murderer.

I enjoy April Henry’s books and had the pleasure of meeting her last year at a conference. She writes fast-paced mysteries that suck the reader in to the very end. Cady’s story was certainly intriguing. You had no idea what was going on. Was she an escaped mental patient? Was she a murderer? Or was she just an innocent girl caught up in something beyond her control? I liked the relationship between Ty and Cady and was glad that it didn’t get all romantic right from the start which would have ruined the believability of the story. I did find the revelations at the end maybe just a bit too out there, but it made for great storytelling and an enjoyable read.

2015-16 Truman Award Nominee.

12. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng, 297 pages, read by Lisa, on 03/11/2015

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

From Goodreads.com.

09. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mariah, Mystery, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry, 213 pages, read by Mariah, on 03/09/2015

Cady wakes up on the floor of a cabin, listening to a man tell someone else to take her out back and finish her off. She has no memory of who she is or why she is in this situation. Once she manage to escape (after some impressive defense skills set off instinctively), Cady spends the rest of the book looking for answers about who she is and why people want to kill her. This is made more difficult as she realizes that whoever is after her is powerful enough to have sway over the police and can trace her movements.

This is a fast, easy-to-read suspense. The heroine is a teen and it might be hard to believe that a 16-year-old is incapacitating people after studying kung-fu for a couple months, but this is a teen fiction. It’s less important that it’s believable, and more important that the hero be easily associated with. Nancy Drew was never that believable either. The Girl Who was Supposed to Die is thoroughly enjoyable. There is a small, romantic part to the book, but, luckily, it stays far, far in the back ground. It’s as if the author knows she needs to put something romantic in to fill a quota or check off a list, but did not want it to interfere with her fast-paced plot.

06. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery

Dead Red by Tim O'Mara, 308 pages, read by Katy, on 03/05/2015

DRJacket_WebShadowNew York City school teacher Raymond Donne has no idea how bad his night is going to get when he picks up the phone. Ricky Torres, his old friend from his days as a cop, needs Ray’s help, and he needs it right now—in the middle of the night. Ricky picks Ray up in the taxi he’s been driving since returning from serving as a marine in Iraq, but before Ricky can tell Ray what’s going on, the windows of the taxi explode under a hail of bullets killing Ricky and knocking Ray unconscious as he dives to pull his friend out of harm’s way.

Ray would’ve done anything to help Ricky out while he was alive. Now that he’s dead, he’ll go to the same lengths to find out who did it and why. All he has to go on is that Ricky was working with Jack Knight, Ray’s old nemesis, another ex-cop turned PI. They were investigating the disappearance of a PR giant’s daughter who had ties to the same Brooklyn streets that all three of them used to work. Is that what got Ricky killed or was he into something even more dangerous? Was there anything that Ray could’ve done for him while he was alive? Is there anything he can do for him now?

From www.goodreads.com.

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

The Mist-torn Witches by Barb Hendee, 326 pages, read by Kira, on 03/02/2015

mist tornTwo sisters living in a small village are barely hanging on.  The elder Celine, pretends to be a seer like her mother (though her mother was a real seer).  The prince of the realm bribes Celine to tell a rich girl that marrying him will be a good choice.  As Celine pretends to read for the rich girl, she has her first real vision, in which the girl is brutally murdered, if she marries the prince.  Will the sisters survive the wrath of the evil prince?  so begins the tale.  This book was much more enjoyable than the 2nd in the series (which I read beforehand).  
93    Hold On -
old-city-of-talinn-and-the-toompea-castle-estonia--18456th

03. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Madeline, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

The Racketeer by John Grisham, 340 pages, read by Madeline, on 02/20/2015

Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.

Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

from Goodreads.com.

03. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Madeline, Mystery

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid, 384 pages, read by Madeline, on 02/04/2015

Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid is one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business, whose acutely suspenseful, seamlessly plotted novels have riveted millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, The Skeleton Road, she delivers a gripping standalone novel about a cold case that links back to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

In the center of historic Edinburgh, builders are preparing to convert a disused Victorian Gothic building into luxury flats. They are understandably surprised to find skeletal remains hidden in a high pinnacle that hasn’t been touched by maintenance for years. But who do the bones belong to, and how did they get there? Could the eccentric British pastime of free climbing the outside of buildings play a role? Enter cold case detective Karen Pirie, who gets to work trying to establish the corpse’s identity. And when it turns out the bones may be from as far away as former Yugoslavia, Karen will need to dig deeper than she ever imagined into the tragic history of the Balkans: to war crimes and their consequences, and ultimately to the notion of what justice is and who serves it.

The Skeleton Road is an edge-of-your-seat, unforgettable read from one of our finest crime writers.

From Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Noelle, Thriller/Suspense

What strange creatures : a novel by Emily Arsenault, 366 pages, read by Noelle, on 02/26/2015

Scandal, love, family, and murder combine in this gripping mystery by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault, in which a young woman’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested for murder and she must prove his innocence.

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years after starting her PhD program–one marriage, one divorce, three cats and a dog later–Theresa Battle still hasn’t finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copywriting job for a local candle company.

Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn’t have it together, either. Creative and loyal, he’s also aimless, in both work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten. When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea it will be the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet academic world.

Soon Kim’s body is found in the woods, and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a murderer. As she investigates Kim’s past, she uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal–and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Death of a Liar by M.C. Beaton, 272 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/19/2015

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Description from Goodreads.com.

27. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco, 326 pages, read by Tracy, on 02/12/2015

Much to Alanis McLachlan’s surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother’s tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died.

With help from a hunky cop and her mother’s live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother’s clients. But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards … and the secrets surrounding her mother’s demise.

Description from Goodreads.com.

25. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Short Stories

Trigger Warning: short fictions and disturbances by Neil Gaiman, 310 pages, read by Brian, on 02/24/2015

Neil Gaiman is possibly to best writer of today’s literature.  Everything he writes is magic.  Neil writes another beauty in Trigger Warning a group of short stories to amaze and wonder about.  It is worth reading.

 

25. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Mystery

Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell, 336 pages, read by Brian, on 02/20/2015

WM2Lily, a witch for who loves Victorian clothing, is hired to check on some paranormal activity in a San Francisco School of Fine Arts.  Is it a demon behind all of this commotion or something more human, Lily uses her skills to find out.

 

13. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery

Crooked Numbers by Tim O'Mara, 306 pages, read by Katy, on 02/12/2015

1250009006

When  one of Raymond Donne’s former students is found stabbed to death under the Williamsburg Bridge, Ray draws on his past as a cop to find the truth in Tim O’Mara’s second New York mystery.

Raymond Donne’s former student Douglas Lee had everything going for him thanks to a scholarship to an exclusive private school in Manhattan, but all of that falls apart when his body is found below the Williamsburg Bridge with a dozen knife wounds in it. That kind of violence would normally get some serious attention from the police and media except when it’s accompanied by signs that it could be gang related. When that’s the case, the story dies and the police are happy to settle for the straightforward explanation. Dougie’s mom isn’t having any of that and asks Ray, who had been a cop before an accident cut his career short, to look into it, unofficially. He does what he can, asking questions, doling out information to the press, and filling in some holes in the investigation, but he doesn’t get far before one of Dougie’s private school friends is killed and another is put in the hospital.

What kind of trouble could a couple of sheltered kids get into that would end like that? And what does is have to do with Dougie’s death? None of it adds up, but there’s no way Ray can just wait around for something to happen.

From www.goodreads.com.

Tim’O Mara is awesome! Can’t wait to read his third book.

11. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton, 179 pages, read by Lisa, on 02/09/2015

Scottish highland village cop Hamish Macbeth must find which target was provoked enough to strangle and drown nasty fat widowed tabloid reporter Jane Winters, who revealed many others’ guilty secrets. Much is from the viewpoint of a naive secretary seduced by a blue-blood playboy. Icy blond beauty, aristocratic Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, lends a hand.

Description from Goodreads.com.