18. March 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Killjoy by Julie Garwood, 448 pages, read by Kim K, on 03/14/2015

Avery Delaney has always tried to put the past far behind her. Abandoned by her rapacious, conniving mother when she was only three days old, Avery was raised by her grandmother and beloved aunt Carolyn. Then, when she was eleven, she witnessed her grandmother’s violent death, before Avery herself was shot and left for dead. Miraculously she survived. The man responsible is serving time in a Florida prison. This traumatic experience propels Avery into a life of law and order.

Her razor-sharp mind and ability to gather data and decipher evidence has made Avery an expert crime analyst for the FBI. But soon she will have to use every one of her adroit skills on a case that hits painfully close to home.

Avery’s workaholic aunt, Carolyn Salvetti, is certain her (hopefully soon-to-be ex) husband sent her the gold embossed reservation to the posh Utopia Spa in the mountains of Colorado. At first she is resistant, but then figures it will be a welcome respite from the cutthroat advertising business, not to mention a networking extravaganza. Plus she persuades her niece to join her for the two weeks of luxury and decadence.

But Carolyn never makes it to Utopia. Under false pretenses, she is taken to an isolated retreat by a handsome stranger with a dazzling smile, suave demeanor, and the darkest of motives. His name is Monk, a hired assassin. Now, with scant clues and fewer resources, Avery must track down and save Carolyn–and outmaneuver a brilliant killer who is part of an elaborate plot of madness and lethal vengeance.

From Goodreads.com.

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Classics, Fiction, Paula

The Moonflower Vine by Carleton, Jetta, 318 pages, read by Paula, on 03/13/2015

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A timeless American classic rediscovered—an unforgettable saga of a heartland family

On a farm in western Missouri during the first half of the twentieth century, Matthew and Callie Soames create a life for themselves and raise four headstrong daughters. Jessica will break their hearts. Leonie will fall in love with the wrong man. Mary Jo will escape to New York. And wild child Mathy’s fate will be the family’s greatest tragedy. Over the decades they will love, deceive, comfort, forgive—and, ultimately, they will come to cherish all the more fiercely the bonds of love that hold the family together.

 

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop, 400 pages, read by Kira, on 03/09/2015

Third novel in the series called the Others.Vision-in-Silver-The-Others-3-Anne-Bishop Scenics_coastal_waters_and_landmass  This book focuses less on Megan’s personal journey and more on the larger macro relationships.  The one exception to this is the focus on Officer Montgomery, the police officer transferred to Lakeside because (back in the first of the series) he shot and killed a human in order to save the life of an Other.  I like that they continued the story-line of what had been a fairly minor character.  I like that we get an expanded view of the less-seen 125779491_11n abstract blue dark smoke digital art 2560x1440 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_22 m.courtyard.rough.SMOthers. Can’t wait for the next book!

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Business, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson, 272 pages, read by Kira, on 03/17/2015

fut perftI read Future Perfect because I was so taken with Steven Johnson’s paradigm-shifting book Everything Bad is Good for You, which made a compelling case for the internet actually making us smarter – contrary to popular knowledge.  This book is more nuanced.  Johnson argues for a peer-to-peer revolution, in both politics and economics.

He starts off comparing the French configuration of rail lines versus the Germans.  The French had a master-plan, where every rail line would follow a straight line, and every line would pass through the center of the world – that being Paris.  This is in contrast to the Germans rail lines, that were a hodge-podge of lines that followed the terrain, forming a lace pattern, with much duplication.  But during WWII, the German rails proved their superiority, as they were much faster at transporting soldiers to whichever front, compared to the French who faced the bottleneck of Paris. cartography,map,network,train,transportation-839c638d5f46b779eb80ae800beb4d61_hindex Johnson uses this metaphor of networks or peer-to-peer operations consistently outperforming top-down hierarchies.  Johnson then applies the model to problems the US faces in politics and economics.  Worthwhile to ponder this alternate model.

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Confess by Colleeen Hoover, 320 pages, read by Jessica, on 03/12/2015

81-uHo1jE6L._SL1500_At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

15. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Teen Books · Tags:

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz, 251 pages, read by Katy, on 03/15/2015

9ced7d43dae75f669e30d44a47a80816It’s a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives.

Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him…and if he’ll do it again…and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.

Lio feels most alive when he’s with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable…and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.

From www.goodreads.com. 

I loved this book!

13. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Teen Books

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, 328 pages, read by Katy, on 03/10/2015

iphone-eleanor-and-park-rainbow-rowell-wallpaperTwo misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

From www.goodreads.com.

This was a sweet story but I thought it was very sad. The ending really made the whole book.

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: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Lost Children of the Far Islands by Emily Raabe, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 03/09/2015

Gus, Leo and Ila live with their parents in Maine. They have a pretty idyllic life until their mother gets sick. She deteriorates rapidly and suddenly the kids are whisked away to a grandmother they don’t know on a remote island. Their grandmother is the Morai, an ancient being who protects the world from the evil Dobhar-chu. She is also a selkie, a shape-shifter who can go between the human and seal shape. Gus, Leo and Ila are also shape-shifters. Because Gus and Leo are 11 they are taught how to change shapes. Ila is too young to shift, but seems to be gifted in that she has a third shape of a fox. With their mother fading and their grandmother old and weak, the kids are the only ones left between the world and the evil of the Dobhar-chu.

I really enjoy books that delve into different cultural mythologies. There are books about selkies, but you don’t see a lot for this age group. I liked that even though the book deals with the mythology of selkies it doesn’t specify the culture they are from or directly point to a specific culture. I liked the kids a lot. Gus and Leo are twins but very different. The star of the show was little Ila though. She doesn’t speak for the first 5 years of her life and it is only after the mom falls ill that she starts to talk. It turns out she is also the most talented of the family in regards to shifting. She is a fierce little thing and quite entertaining. This is a great stand alone book for fantasy fans.

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.

12. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras, 306 pages, read by Jessica, on 03/11/2015

91oF5o8n5vL._SL1500_He was my older brother’s best friend.

He was never supposed to be mine.

I thought we would get it out of our system and move on.

One of us did.

One of us left.

Now he’s back, looking at me like he wants to devour me. And all those feelings I’d turned into anger are brewing into something else, something that terrifies me.

He broke my heart last time.

This time he’ll obliterate it.

09. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 03/09/2015

Twig has a secret, a secret that means she keeps her distance from everyone. She lives with her mother in the town of Sidwell where Johnny Appleseed gave her family a rare pink apple. Her mother’s pink apple recipes are famous. Twig has no friends her age, but immediately likes Julia when her family moves in next door. Her mom doesn’t want her to be friends with Julia however. It seems that 200 years ago their family was cursed by a witch who just happens to be Julia’s ancestor. The curse is that every male member of the family is born with wings. Twig’s secret is her brother James who has been hidden his entire life because of the wings on his back. James is getting tired of hiding though and starts leaving the house more and more often. Twig and Julia become determined to somehow break the curse and start researching their ancestors for the answer.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I enjoyed the story and thought it was really interesting, but I also thought it lacked something. There isn’t a lot of character development for pretty much everyone except Twig. There is a whole plot line involving saving the woods from development that seemed like an after thought to get a character into the story. I also thought the ending was just a little too perfect. Even though magical realism is not really my favorite thing I did think it worked fairly well in this story.

I received this book from Netgalley.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.

09. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Scream for me by Karen Rose, 448 pages, read by Melody, on 03/08/2015

For her exciting debut in hardcover, New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose delivers a heart-stopping suspense novel that picks up where DIE FOR ME left off, with a detective determined to track down a brutal murderer.

Special Agent Daniel Vartanian has sworn to find the perpetrator of multiple killings that mimic a 13-year-old murder linked to a collection of photographs that belonged to his brother, Simon, the ruthless serial killer who met his demise in DIE FOR ME. Daniel is certain that someone even more depraved than his brother committed these crimes, and he’s determined to bring the current murderer to justice and solve the mysterious crime from years ago.

With only a handful of images as a lead, Daniel’s search will lead him back through the dark past of his own family, and into the realm of a mind more sinister than he could ever imagine. But his quest will also draw him to Alex Fallon, a beautiful nurse whose troubled past reflects his own. As Daniel becomes attached to Alex, he discovers that she is also the object of the obsessed murderer. Soon, he will not only be racing to discover the identity of this macabre criminal, but also to save the life of the woman he has begun to love.

From Goodreads.com.

09. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

The unwanted wife by Natasha Anders, 215 pages, read by Melody, on 03/06/2015

All Alessandro de Lucci wants from his wife is a son but after a year and a half of unhappiness and disillusionment, all Theresa de Lucci wants from her ice cold husband is a divorce. Unfortunate timing, since Theresa is about to discover that she’s finally pregnant and Alessandro is about to discover that he isn’t willing to lose Theresa.

From Goodreads.com.

09. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Mariah, Science Fiction, Steam-punk

The White City by John Claude Bemis, 400 pages, read by Mariah, on 03/08/2015

This is the third book in a steampunk trilogy. The White City wraps up a fable that is loosely based on the tall tale of John Henry and the nine pound hammer. In this world, though, the railroad now cutting through America, is part of an evil take-over by mechanics and technology. A black-coated, top-hatted, evil industrialist is using a machine called the Magog to control humanity. Anyone who is too close to where it is in operation begins to fade. At that point, if the infected person tries to leave the vicinity, they begin to cough up black oil and die. The only hope to fight this mechanized evil is the natural magick of Ramblers. They use spell components from nature to work an earth friendly magic. The White City finishes a battle that began in the first book of the trilogy, The Nine Pound Hammer.

I read this together with my eight year old son. I thought it was alright. I have not come across a lot of steampunk that I thought was appropriate for younger children. That seems like a serious lack! The mix of magic and robots hooked my son immediately and he loved the entire trilogy.

06. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Mariah, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Program by Suzanne Young, 405 pages, read by Mariah, on 03/05/2015

The Program is set in yet another dystopian future, but this time the plague racking the Earth is suicide. A type of death that once was a choice, has become a sickness that affects a large percentage of the teenage population. Worse still, it appears to be a communicable disease. In order to deal with this, governments are turning to The Program. Teens who are flagged with depression are involuntarily admitted to a center which attempts to cure their illness by wiping away any memories that might make the teens sad. The hero and heroine of this book both suffer through the trauma of The Program, but once they are released as having been cured, they fight to regain their memories. No one has ever accomplished this before and they must try while forced to run away from parents, watchers, and government officials who would lock them back up. Sloane and James, lovers prior to the program, not only find each other, but slowly piece together some memories of their past together because “[she] may not remember him, but [her] heart does.” The story ends as they break ties with their family and start running.

I was not impressed with this book. The plot was thin and, as a reader, I really had to put in a lot of effort to suspend disbelief. Important parts, that do not flow smoothly in any kind of arranged sense, are left up to the reader to find some excuse for. Many parts seemed added solely to add a shock value to the narrative. It is a decent book, but if you have a limited amount of time to read, I would not bother with this one.

06. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Poetry

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck, 71 pages, read by Brian, on 03/06/2015

poetryLouise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962–2012 was hailed as “a major event in this country’s literature” in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation. Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception.
You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it’s the same place but it has been arranged differently. You were a woman. You were a man. This is a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown, a knight’s undaunted journey into the kingdom of death; this is a story of the world you’ve always known, that first primer where “on page three a dog appeared, on page five a ball” and every familiar facet has been made to shimmer like the contours of a dream, “the dog float[ing] into the sky to join the ball.”Faithful and Virtuous Night tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder. (GoodReads)

 

06. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale , 323 pages, read by Angie, on 03/05/2015

The Forgotten Sisters is the final book in the Princess Academy trilogy. It picks up after the events of Palace of Stone. Miri and the other girls are ready to head back to Mount Eskel. Miri can’t wait to see her family and become betrothed to Peder. Just as she is about to leave she is summoned to the king and asked to go to Lesser Alva and train three royal cousins to be princesses. War is coming to Danland and the only way to prevent it is to offer the enemy king a bride. Miri heads off to the swamp expecting to find a much different situation than she does. The three sisters live in an empty stone house; they are not educated; they have no concept of what it means to be royal. Once their mother died their support dried up and they are forced to spend their days hunting for food in the swamp. Miri takes up the challenge to get the girls ready for their debut in Asland. This involves more than teaching the girls to read and write; she must also figure out a way to get their allowance back from the unscrupulous headman of the village. Unfortunately, war comes before the girls are ready and they are not safe even in the swamp backwater where they live.

Every time I read one of these books I remember how much I like Shannon Hale’s writing. I could not put this book down. I loved getting to see Miri on her own in an unfamiliar situation. The swamp offered a great background to the story as Miri learns to catch caimans and survive in the mud and the muck. I liked the royal cousins, but didn’t think they were developed as well as they could have been. Miri is really the focus of the story as she teaches the girls how to survive as princesses and she learns how to survive in the swamp. I actually loved the ending of the book and really didn’t see the twist coming. I had other ideas about the girls that ended up not being true. I thought the ending really suited the spirit of this series and wrapped up the characters’ stories really well.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

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.