13. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags: ,

Darkness at Pemberley by T. H. White, 286 pages, read by Tammy, on 11/10/2014

darkness at pemberleyA little known detective story by the author of The Once and Future King and The Book of Merlyn. Starting off with a closed room mystery Inspector Buller is soon confronted with two other superstitious deaths at a prestigious college. Frustrated by his inability to prove who the murderer is even the villain confesses in private to him, the Inspector decides to resign from Scotland Yard. The story moves to the estate where two of his friends live. Made famous by Jane Austen, Pemberley, is our majestic setting for evil. The killer determines to kill Sir Charles and endangers the life of Detective Buller’s one true love. The action picks up once the killer manages to hide in the house. What follows includes car chases, kidnapping, poison gas, grinning skulls and a dangerous maze of a chimney system. Sir Charles and Inspector Buller must wrestle with their conscious. Could they kill the man if it’s the only way Sir Charles and his sister will be safe?

12. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 11/10/2014

Mo and Dale, the Desperado Detectives, are back with all the quirky characters of Tupelo Landing. They have to learn about the history of their town for a school assignment. Instead of interviewing one of the elders of the town like all their classmates are doing, Mo convinces Dale to pick the ghost of the inn as their subject. The ramshackle inn was recently purchased by Miss Lana and Grandmother Miss Lacy to keep it out of the hands of the horrible Rat Face woman. The inn has been closed since the 1930s when a horrible accident left the family grieving and a ghost in residence. Mo and Dale are determined to find out who the ghost is and what happened to her even as they are stonewalled by the people who were there and know the story. Their investigation uncovers secrets of some of the town residents and explains the connection new kid Harm has to the area.

I really enjoy this series of books. I like that you don’t necessarily have to read Three Times Lucky to enjoy The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing though it does help. I think Mo is a fabulous character full of grit and determination. I really like the family she has created in Tupelo Landing and how they all fit together. I thought the mystery was good; filled with bootlegging, car races and terrible tragedy. I like how the truth unfolded throughout the story. I think Sheila Turnage does a fabulous job of recreating the quirky nature of small town Southern people with her wonderful cast of characters. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Mo and Dale.

09. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Once Upon a Midnight Eerie: The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe, Book Two by Gordon McAlpine, Sam Zuppardi (Illustrations), 192 pages, read by Angie, on 11/08/2014

Edgar and Allen Poe are back in their second adventure. This time they are in a movie about Edgar Allen Poe in New Orleans. They meet another set of twins Em and Milly Dickinson who are descendants of Emily Dickinson and also starring in the movie. Together the twins meet a couple of ghosts who can’t pass on because they have unfinished business. The kids help them with their quest to expose their murderer. Edgar and Allen don’t know it but they are also under surveillance by Professor Perry’s daughter who wants to stop her father’s plans, but not by helping Edgar and Allen. This second adventure is a bit better than the first actually. It isn’t quite as implausible or ridiculous. It is an interesting mystery series. Not sure how much it will appeal to kids, but it does have a certain kind of charm.

08. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Courtney, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, 440 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/14/2014

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again .

04. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe by Dan Poblocki, 288 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/22/2014

The Haunting of Gabriel AsheGabe and Seth used to play make-believe games in the woods behind Seth’s family farm. It was the perfect creepy landscape for imagining they were up against beasts and monsters and villains.

Just as Gabe’s decided he’s outgrown their childish games, though, it appears that their most monstrous creation could be real.

Gabe and his family move in with his grandmother after their house burns in a fire.  Eager to escape the labels he endured at his old school, Gabe makes friends over the summer with Seth, who lives nearby.  After school begins, Gabe is accepted into the somewhat popular crowd but learns that his friendship with Seth may cause those labels to begin again.  Gabe and Seth had spent the summer playing a game in the woods, that Seth used to play with his brother, until he disappeared.  Gabe and Seth find themselves caught up in something that pulls Seth’s new friends into it’s evil.  Can the boys figure out the mystery and bring it to an end?  This is going to be very popular with both boys and girls, despite the main characters being boys.  Very suspenseful and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

31. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

The Mummy's Curse by Penny Warner, 182 pages, read by Angie, on 10/30/2014

The Code Busters Club is a group of four friends who love to solve puzzles and codes. Cody, Quinn, Luke and ME are in 6th grade and learning about hieroglyphics. Their classes are taking a trip to the local Egyptian museum. At the museum they meet Ms. Cassat, the museum director, and Dr. Jordan, a forgery expert. The kids notice that an eye of horus appears to be fake and they start investigating what happened to the real one. Did Dr. Jordan create the perfect forgery or did Ms. Casset’s love of Egyptian jewelry get the better of her?

This is an interesting book. In some ways I really liked the fact that there are actual puzzles for the reader to solve along with the Code Busters. In others I became really frustrated by the fact that I had to keep flipping to the back of the book to find out the answers. I thought the mystery was good and not as obvious as some kid’s mysteries. I liked that all the kids were smart and did their parts to solve the mystery.

30. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Mystery

The Code of the Hills by Nancy Allen, 480 pages, read by Jane, on 10/24/2014

To uncover the truth, she’ll have to break the code of the hills …

In the Missouri Ozarks, some things aren’t talked about … even abuse. But prosecutor Elsie Arnold is determined to change that.

When she is assigned to prosecute a high-profile incest case in which a father is accused of abusing his three young daughters, Elsie is ready to become the Ozarks’ avenging angel.

But as Elsie sinks her teeth into the case, everything begins to turn sour. The star witness goes missing; the girls refuse to talk about their father, who terrorizes the courtroom from the moment he enters; and Elsie begins to suspect that their tough-as-nails mother has ulterior motives. To make matters worse, Elsie receives gruesome threats from local extremists, warning her to mind her own business.

While Elsie swears not to let a sex offender walk, she realizes the odds—and maybe the town—are against her, and her life begins to crumble. But amidst all of the conflict, the safety of three young girls hangs in the balance …

A powerful debut, with the haunting atmosphere of Winter’s Bone and the page-turning suspense of Alafair Burke’s thrillers.

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Tracy

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris, 305 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/26/2014

FIRST IN A NEW TRILOGY

From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale—populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it…

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth…

29. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Personal by Lee Child, 392 pages, read by Tracy, on 10/23/2014

Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president.

Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.

This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child’s number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to Paris – and then to London. The stakes have never been higher – because this time, it’s personal.

23. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Paula, Thriller/Suspense

One Of Us by Tawni O'Dell, 295 pages, read by Paula, on 10/23/2014

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“From the New York Times bestselling author of Back Roads comes a fast-paced literary thriller about a forensic psychologist forced to face his own demons after discovering his small hometown terrorized by a serial killer. Dr. Sheridan Doyle–a fastidiously groomed and TV-friendly forensic psychologist–is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office whenever a twisted killer’s mind eludes other experts. But beneath his Armani pinstripes, he’s still Danny Doyle, the awkward, terrified, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family, plagued by panic attacks and haunted by the tragic death of his little sister and mental unraveling of his mother years ago. Danny returns home to Lost Creek, a town grappling with its own ghosts, and comes face-to-face with the town’s legacy of violence–when a dead body is discovered at the famous gallows where a band of rebellious Irish miners was executed 100 years ago. The body also has an eerie connection to the wealthy mining family behind the miners’ deaths. When he teams up with a veteran detective and father figure to get to the bottom of these heinous crimes, Danny realizes that he’s dangerously close to uncovering haunting secrets from his own past… In this masterfully told psychological thriller in the vein of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the past and present collide to put Lost Creek’s long-lived ghosts to bed”

22. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald, 247 pages, read by Lisa, on 10/21/2014

When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

14. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Katy, Mystery

The Round House by Louise Erdrich, 317 pages, read by Katy, on 10/13/2014

42afd0889f68f5933f522791e7e57a34When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

14. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Horror, Lisa, Mystery

The Dreadful Revenge of Ernest Gallen by James Lincoln Collier, 240 pages, read by Lisa, on 10/13/2014

In the quiet town of Magnolia, someone is a’ haunting, making people do awfully weird things. Eugene knows because he’s being haunted, too. His friend Sonny’s dad walked right off of a building and fell to his death, and then another friend’s dad crashed his car into a tree. The same “specter” that was haunting them is inside Eugene, talking to him, telling him to do crazy things! Along with the help of their friend (conveniently, the daughter of the town’s newspaper editor) Eugene and Sonny pledge to get to the bottom of the haunting.  But not before uncovering a bigger mystery that will affect nearly every townsperson in sleepy little Magnolia…

12. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald , 247 pages, read by Angie, on 10/11/2014

Theodora Tenpenny is not having a good summer. Her grandfather Jack died in a freak accident and she is left caring for her reclusive mother and their aging house. When Jack was alive they were just scraping by with his salary from the Museum of Modern Art, but now they have no income and very little left to live on. She makes due with food from her garden and treasures she finds around New York. Jack was an artist and when he died told Theo to look for a treasure under the egg. There is a painting of an egg in the house and Theo is obsessed with finding the treasure. One day she spills alcohol on the painting and finds another painting underneath. This painting looks old and probably stolen. Theo spends the rest of the summer trying to figure out if the painting is really a lost Raphael and how Jack ended up with it. She finds help throughout the city from a variety of people including the daughter of two actors, a priest, a fun librarian, and a guy selling nuts on the street. Turns out the painting has an amazing back story.

I have become kind of obsessed with the Nazi art looting of Europe and the Monuments Men story in the last year or so. This book really brought that obsession to life in a wonderful middle grade novel. I loved Theo and her determination and resilience. She is a fabulous character who is stuck at the beginning of the novel. Throughout the book she becomes more and more unstuck as she meets wonderful, helpful people around the city and realizes she is not alone. The thing I liked best about the book was the fact that the mystery of the painting was believable. So many mysteries for kids take a huge leap of faith on the part of the reader and this one did not. Sure there was a huge coincidence at the end, but the rest of it made sense. I highly recommend this one. Loved it!

08. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore, 320 pages, read by Angie, on 10/07/2014

Hazel lives with her parents in the small Vermont town of Maple Hill. Her parents are the caretakers of the local cemetery and Hazel has free reign over the cemetery. It is 1953 and the height of the Joseph McCarthy Red Menace where communists seem to be everywhere. Hazel believes what she hears. She is building a bomb shelter in one of the mausoleums and investigating the new gravedigger Mr. Jones. She believes that since the FBI is investigating the local factory there must be other commies in town. Hazel thinks Mr. Jones is suspicious and wants to catch him in the act. She enlists the help of her new friend Samuel who is new in town and has a mysterious past. Together they have to figure out the mystery of Mr. Jones and the communist threat.

I liked this book. Hazel is spunky and smart and a bit full of herself. She loves the mysteries of Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon and wants to solve mysteries herself. Since she lives in a small town there aren’t really a lot of mysteries, which doesn’t stop Hazel. She sees things as she wants them to be in a lot of ways. She doesn’t have a whole lot of parental supervision, but this is the 1950s so maybe parents were a bit more lax back then. I like the fact that this book is set in a time period that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention with middle grade novels. There is also McCarthyism which is not something a lot of kids know about it. It is a fascinating time in our history when there was a lot of fear-mongering going on. While the Mr. Jones mystery wasn’t really that interesting, Samuel’s story was as was how Hazel resolved it.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books

Far From You by Tess Sharpe, 352 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/25/2014

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer – but can she track them down before they come for her?

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Steam-punk, Teen Books

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, 378 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/09/2014

Joel has always wanted to be a Rithmatist, but he wasn’t chosen. He still gets to go to the prestigious Armedius Academy and, while he can’t take the courses that the Rithmatist students do, he can still sneak into the occasional class. His obsession with Rithmancy earns him a summer assistantship with his favorite Rithmancy professor, Fitch. When students studying Rithmancy start disappearing with no trace save for some drops of blood, the whole school is in an uproar. It’s believed that someone or something is targeting Rithmatists. The likely weapon is a set of oddly drawn Chalklings that have the ability to attack physical forms rather than chalk lines, the sort that are typically only seen far away on the war-torn isle of Nebrask. Professor Fitch is charged with assisting in the investigation and Joel is eager to help. The artistically-gifted-but-geometrically-disinclined Melody, also assigned to help Professor Fitch over the summer, teams up with Joel as they work to solve the mystery of their missing classmates.

Author Sanderson has created a fascinating and original world where battles are drawn in chalk. A working knowledge of geometry is every bit as important as a steady hand. Joel excels in geometric strategy, but ultimately can do little more than watch from the sidelines. The ability to become a Rithmatist is not one that can worked towards; either one is a Rithmatist or one is not. The setting is the United Isles of America (a detailed map of which appears at the beginning of the book). The Rithmatist is interspersed with illustrations featuring chalk-drawn defenses and Chalklings. Joel and Melody both break the mold of the middle-grade magic novel. Joel has no magical abilities. Melody, while a Rithmatist, is at the bottom of her class. She doesn’t particularly enjoy being a Rithmatist either. She is, however, an excellent artist, which winds up being far more useful than she had previously believed. This book works on a number of levels: it’s a mystery/fantasy/steampunk/action/adventure story. And it does all of these things quite well.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags:

Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, 302 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/18/2014

The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.

True to life descriptions of life in rural small town Missouri deep in the Ozarks.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Tammy · Tags:

The Outlaw Album: Stories by Daniel Woodrell, 176 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/28/2014

I enjoyed this collection of short stories all set in rural Missouri more than any short story collection I’ve read in years. The main characters, setting and plots are fully fleshed out to tell you their story. There is a wide range of emotions experienced as you read these stories. There is tenderness and loyalty between family and friends but also some desperate and psychologically damaged characters.

This is my second favorite book of his, second only to Winter’s Bone.

06. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags:

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell, 225 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/15/2014

Daniel Woodrell depicts the rough existence of a three young adults born into poverty in rural Missouri. Jamalee just wants a chance out of her tiny home town of West Table where everyone knows her family history and what side of town she’s from. She wants to bring along her brother, Jason, a sweet beautiful seventeen-year-old boy. Then along comes Sammy Barlach, a young drifter who doesn’t always go looking for trouble but sure seems to find him. The damage this unlikely trio does is mostly to themselves and the novel is full of the harsh realities of broken dreams.