08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull by Bill Harley, 160 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

It is Halloween and Charlie is determined to have an epic holiday. He doesn’t want to take his younger sister trick-or-treating like he does every year. He wants to go to his friend Alex’s house in a wealthy neighborhood. he thinks big houses equals big candy. He also wants to have an epic costume but his mom is really busy. Charlie enlists the help of his art teacher to make his bat costume. Now the only thing he has to worry about is the fact that Alex plans to show scary movies at his house. Charlie doesn’t like scary movies at all. His brother Matt helps him out by de-scarifying him and telling him scary stories. This is another hit for the Charlie Bumpers series. I think Bill Harley does a great job of writing about things that all kids worry about and making the stories relatable.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction

Life of Zarf: The Trouble with Weasels by Rob Harrell, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Zarf is just your average troll. He is trying to survive middle school and everything that goes along with it. Zarf lives in a fairy tale world where Goldilocks is his favorite lunch lady, ogres are near the top of the social ladder and the biggest bully of all is Prince Roquefort. Zarf’s friends are Kevin Littlepig and Chester the Jester. Kevin is afraid of everything and Chester’s jokes all fall flat. Zarf has trouble controlling his troll blood anger and it really gets him in trouble one day when he is tormented by Roquefort. When good King Cheznott goes missing while hunting the terrible snuffweasels things go from bad to worse. Cheznott is a benevolent king who supported troll rights, but his son is entirely different. Roquefort is a bully and his first act is to imprison Zarf and deny rights to trolls. Zarf breaks out of the dungeon with the help of his friends and Goldilocks and frees John Knoble the Knight as well. Together they head off to rescue the king and restore order to the kingdom of Cotswin.

This was a fun take on the world of fairy tales. I love how everything you love about fairy tales was incorporated along with a lot of humor and zaniness. Zarf is a great character that will surely appeal to a lot of readers. The book has a lot of illustrations and popout texts that make it a dynamic read. This is a good book for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and those types of books.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

Cat In The City by Julie Salamon, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Pretty Boy is a stray cat who is found by a group of dogs and adopted by a Dee who runs a salon. Pretty Boy and the dogs have lots of adventures in New York City and he learns what family is. This is a nice story that is not really fantasy even though the animals talk to each other. It is more like a sneak peak into what animals might be thinking and communicating to others. I loved that Pretty Boy developed a love of music and helped the little boy do the same. A great animal story that I am sure kids will enjoy.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome by Bill Harley, 155 pages, read by Angie, on 11/07/2014

Charlie is back in his second adventure. This time his class is putting on a play. Charlie really wants to be the evil sorcerer, but Mrs. Burke assigns him the part of the nice gnome. The nice gnome actually has a lot of lines, but he is nice and that is not what Charlie wants. He tries a lot of different things to get out of the part from trading parts, changing the lines to be more funny and doing a horrible job during rehearsals. Nothing works and Mrs. Burke just becomes disappointed in Charlie. Charlie has to resign himself to being the nice gnome. At home he is rebelling against walking his dog even though that is his assigned job. He doesn’t think it is fair that he is the only one who has to walk the dog. Charlie is dealing with things a lot of kids have to deal with: school issues, chores, wanting to be cool. I think this is a really good series for younger readers. There is a lot about Charlie to like and identify with. He is not a bad kid he just doesn’t always make the best decisions.

08. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Drama, Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The One by Kiera Cass, 323 pages, read by Kristy, on 11/08/2014

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I’m not sure why I went ahead and read The One since I thoroughly disliked The Elite. It was a bad choice. The One is basically a repeat of books one and two of this series. America is still unsure about her relationship with the prince, the castle is still constantly attacked by rebels, and character development is still awkward and stilted. This series was such a bore/snore/waste of my time!

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 11/06/2014

Arianne and her family live on a horse farm in the 1960s. Arianne’s rock star father abandoned them after her little brother Robbie was born. Robbie is a thalidomide baby with physical disabilities. One night the family goes out to the field to watch the Pleiades and Arianne witnesses a white light jumping in among the horses. Then their old pony Agora becomes pregnant and gives birth to a centaur. The little pony boy, who they name Kai after Chiron, becomes the focus of the family, the stable manager Martha and the vet Dr. Herks. They all pull together to keep Kai safe and away from prying eyes even if it means they lose some of their riders and boarders. Kai is a typical centaur with a horse body and a boy torso and head. He becomes one of the family as he grows at an astonishing rate. Of course no secret this big can stay a secret forever. It is up to the family to figure out how to keep control of the story and to keep Kai safe.

This was an interesting mix of historical fiction and fantasy. I thought it was really smart to set the story in the past because there is no way they would have been been able to keep the secret in the world of today’s technology. I thought it was a great story about a family and the unconditional love they felt for each other. I don’t think I have ever read a children’s book with a thalidomide baby character so this was also a nice piece of history that kids are probably not familiar with. However, I will admit that I was a bit bored by the story. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just seemed very slow story with a lot of repetition.

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Collide by Gail McHugh, 395 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/18/2014

A missed first encounter…

Colliding with a second chance…

On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start.

While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man.

Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over.

This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life.

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Black Lies by Alessandra Torre, 290 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/30/2014

Brant:
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.
Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee:
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Nikki, Romance

Tempting Tatum by Kaylee Ryan, 263 pages, read by Nikki, on 10/10/2014

What do you do when your whole life crashes and burns? How do you get through the flames?

Tatum Thompson is living the dream. Her life is perfect; with a loving boyfriend, loving parents and a soon to be college graduate how can life get better? Life is good until it isn’t. When tragedy strikes Tatum runs to Josh only to find him in a compromising position with someone else. Turning away from the only life she knew, Tatum is forced to alter her life plan.

Blaise Richards is a tattoo artist who moonlights as a volunteer fire fighter. Lies and deception leave his broken heart closed until the beautiful green eyed girl casts her spell over him. She’s making him feel things he’s never felt. Making him want things he thought he would never want.

Tatum wants Mr. just for tonight.

Blaise wants Tatum to be his forever.

Can Mr. Just for tonight convince Tatum that she’s the one? How long can Tatum resist Blaise’s determination to make her his?

06. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Kristy, Romance, Teen Books, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The Elite by Kiera Cass, 336 pages, read by Kristy, on 11/05/2014

16248068While the Selection was fun and fluffy and romantic, The Elite was just annoying. America is one of the few Selected left, and she is trying to figure out whether she would be a good princess. She goes back and forth about this and about her love for both Prince Maxon and Aspen roughly a billion times. If one doesn’t give her attention, she gets huffy and falls into the arms of the other. She is wishy washy about pretty much everything. The plot was slow and boring, and nothing really happened except a few of the Selected got booted. Her rotten attitude in this novel made me very much dislike America.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm, 208 pages, read by Angie, on 11/04/2014

One day Ellie’s mom brings a teenager home. She claims this young Melvin is actually grandpa Melvin. He has found the fountain of youth, which turns out to be a jellyfish. Of course he experimented on himself and reversed the aging process. Only problem is that his lab has been bought out and they are pushing Melvin out; of course there is also the fact that he looks 15 instead of 75 like he is supposed to. So Melvin moves in with Ellie and her mom and starts going to school with her. Melvin and the mom do not get along. Melvin doesn’t respect the fact that Ellie’s mom has chosen a career in drama instead of following in his footsteps with science. Melvin also doesn’t fit in at school since he still acts, dresses and talks like a 75 year old man with no respect for anyone else. Ellie however kind of likes having her grandpa around. She has found that middle school is a whole new world compared to elementary school. Her best friend has moved on to the world of volleyball and Ellie doesn’t find it easy to make friends. Soon Melvin has pulled Raj (scary goth kid who is actually pretty nice) into their circle and concocted plans to break into his lab and steal his jellyfish. Ellie is also finding that she fits in with the science world of Melvin a lot more than she does with the drama/theater world of her parents.

I thought Ellie was fantastic as a character. She is trying to find her way in the world and trying to figure out who she is just like everyone else. She doesn’t feel like she fits in with her family or her friends anymore and has to find where she does fit. I liked the fact that the complete misfit Melvin actually teaches her more about being herself. Melvin doesn’t care if he fits in; he just does what he wants when he wants to. Ellie develops an appreciation for science and a better relationship with her grandpa through this process. I really like well done coming of age stories and this one is excellent.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Sarah, Teen Books

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott, 310 pages, read by Sarah, on 11/03/2014

  What happens when a goddess is banished to earth by Zeus?  Does she still have her powers?  Or will she be on her own to complete her tasks at hand?  True (Eros) was banished to earth and has to match 3 couples before she can be restored to the heavens.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except, the love of her life has been sent down, too.  And Orion has no recollection of who she is.  This fantasy book was pretty good.  I enjoyed the references to the different gods and goddesses and how they could effect True’s mission.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech, 176 pages, read by Kira, on 11/02/2014

love_that_dog 977108e4e010f1d5b4be4dcc31a63c02 creechI love Sharon Creech’s work (Walk Two Moons is my fav).  So when I saw she had a book about CATS, I had to read it.  Apparently, this book is a sequel to Love that Dog.  In this book, the protagonist Jack is still mourning the loss of his dog and Not ready for a new pet, and is still in Miss Stretchberry’s  poetry class.  Miss Stretchberry is a wonderful teacher, I really wish I’d had such a good literature teacher poetry or what-not or any sort.  She makes the poetry come alive, even for me in this short book.   I guess I will have to take an online  class on poetry.  She explains what makes the poetry work, and she is very encouraging of Jack.   Eventually, when the black kitten disappears he realizes he does like the cat.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Scarlet Pimpernel. by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 306 pages, read by Kira, on 10/31/2014

scarlet-pimpernel-cover - Copy n87614 - CopyThe Scarlet Pimpernel is the original Zorro, a foppish aristocrat, who in reality rescues French scarlet_pimpernel_600 - Copyindex - Copyscarlet-pimpernel-drawing - Copyaristocrats from the guillotine and excesses of the French Revolution (seen here at its worst).  After the excesses, the story moves into how the Scarlet Pimpernel has pulled of some quite daring rescues, tweaking the noses of the brutal French guards.  Then it moves into the love story/romance between Marguarite and her husband.  I dislike how far in debt, Margaurite is to her husband, and how high/large his forgiveness needs to be, to reconcile the couple.  Then back to more adventure.  Though really the quick thing to do, would be to incapacitate Chauvelin.  It is an old book and the treatment of women shows the misogynistic flaws of the time.  The “smartest” woman in Europe, remains clueless about her husband’s masquerades throughout (my husband noted this). Fun, but could use some updating.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Memoirs · Tags: , ,

Haatchi & Little B: the Inspiring True Story of one Boy and his Dog by Wendy Holden, 224 pages, read by Kira, on 11/01/2014

So I was looking for a the animal’s point of view story preferably a cat story.  What I found on our ebook listing was this dog story and Not from the dog’s point of view.  It is a story about lives who deal with disability and how the dog helps the little boy.  Owen the young boy was born with a rare genetic abnormality called Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome.  This syndrome shortens and tightens all his muscles limiting his mobility in the extreme.

Haatchi the dog, had been tied to train tracks and run over, consequently missing his tail and one of his rear legs.81LTSYB7-zL._SL1500_ haatchi-640x360 owen-haatchi Both need lots of special attention, physical therapy.  Owen had been withdrawing into himself, as he noticed his difference from fellow kids.  Haatchi brought him out of his shell, and 571151-24ab88ee-982c-11e3-ae2a-c06439f32ae2allowed him to blossom.  Haatchi won all sorts of awards it seemed almost improbably, but I guess, the grand prize has to go to someone.

Haatchi’s presence helped the fundraising effort for Owen’s new wheelchair.  It ends with a short glossary of special words used by Owen with Haatchi.

04. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Paula

The Little Prince by De Saint-Exupery, Antoine, 91 pages, read by Paula, on 10/31/2014

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“In the exquisite imagery of this fairy tale, the poet-writer shares with children something of the mystic’s vision and wisdom of life”.–New York Public Library.

A beautiful tale of friendship, love and loneliness.  Sad but heartwarming.

04. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Spirit Animals Special Edition: Tales of the Great Beasts by Brandon Mull, Nick Eliopulos, Billy Merrell, Gavin Brown, Emily Seife, 192 pages, read by Angie, on 11/04/2014

Tales of the Great Beasts explores the war of the Devourer and his Conquerors. It starts with the rise of the Devourer and how he became the Reptile King. We then get chapters on each of the Fallen of the Great Beasts: Jhi the Panda, Briggan the Wolf, Uraza the Leopard and Essix the Falcon. We learn how each of these joined the fight, how the Greencloaks first started and how the war ended with the four dying and the two evil Great Beasts being imprisoned. It is a wonderful back story for the Spirit Animals series. I received this book from Netgalley.com.

04. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags:

Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show by Janet Tashjian, Jake Tashjian (Illustrations), 176 pages, read by Angie, on 11/03/2014

Einstein the class hamster has been quizzing the kids at school with Answer That Question. Now the kids are heading off to a real game show and Einstein gets to go along. He and his sidekick Marlon the turtle are smuggled into the game show studio. Principal Decker also brings his pet snake Twinkles who causes all kinds of havoc. But the havoc gives Einstein the opportunity to be a real game show host. This was a decent chapter book for early readers. It has nice big text and lots of illustrations. The story was not to my tastes but I can see where it will find fans. There are all kinds of crazy antics and a teacher who falls asleep all the time. I think my favorite parts of the book Einstein’s Tasty Tidbits were he shared facts and information on all kinds of subjects.

04. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke, 341 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/26/2014

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With her weak eyes and useless lungs that often leave her gasping for air, Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she is so much more comfortable and confident in the water than on land until the day she learns the shocking truth—she is one of a group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of the “Neptune Project” are supposed to build a better future under the waves, safe from the terrible famines and wars and that rock the surface world. Fierce battle and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friend race to safety in this action-packed marine adventure.

I enjoyed this book very much, probably because of the solution the characters have to global warming, which I have not seen explored before like this.  I feel for Nere and her friends as they try to make sense of what they have become and how they try to cope with their new world.  Very enjoyable and I think that both boys and girls will enjoy this novel.

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.