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

Overwhelmed by You by Nashoda Rose, 321 pages, read by Melody, on 02/06/2015

Love is ugly and secrets will destroy you.

KAT

I don’t beg.
I don’t cry.
And I don’t give second chances.

Ream, the lead guitarist of the rock band Tear Asunder, deserves a gold medal for best dick move ever when he ran the moment he discovered my secret after two days of hot sex. Then he brings some chick to my coming home party from the hospital—after being shot.
I hate him.

Until …

Ream’s six foot two frame unfolds out of the car after being gone on tour for eight months. I stared. And in my defense, any girl would stare. It would almost be rude not to because Ream was the type of guy who stood out. Not because he was loud and obnoxious. No, it was because he was the complete opposite. Subtle and dangerously quiet. If he spoke, you’d better hope he liked you because otherwise you’d be falling at his feet begging for mercy. Except me … I don’t beg—ever.
But when our eyes locked, it was Ream’s steady confidence that had my nerves shooting off like jet sprinklers.

Then…

Ream told me he didn’t need a second chance because he was still working on his first.

REAM

Sex is ugly. It’s using someone for your own narcissistic pleasure. I did it, but hated it—until her. She was unfuckinexpected. Then I had to wreck our beginning with my screwed up past. I don’t deserve her, but I’m selfish and I’m taking her anyway. This is who I am and it’s too late to change me.

Description from Goodreads.com.

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

Stay by Karyn Lawrence, 274 pages, read by Kim K, on 02/06/2015

A gunshot rings out and interrupts Laurel Hayward’s first steps on stage as a professional dancer, and witnessing an assassination is just the beginning of her horrific night. The ruthless killer is determined to either have her or to silence her, landing Laurel in the protective custody of Deputy U.S. Marshal Jason Dunn.

His cocky, indifferent attitude gets under her skin, but worse yet, there’s undeniable attraction. Jason can claim he’s not interested in her all he wants but once he’s got her tucked away in a safe house his actions say otherwise.

She needs his help to stay alive and he needs her to catch the killer that has eluded him for years. Forced together and on the run, the attraction flares out of control and develops into more just as the obsessed killer comes for Laurel . . . and threatens to destroy everything.

Description from Goodreads.com.

09. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, 195 pages, read by Angie, on 02/08/2015

A team of women set off on the twelfth expedition to Area X. They are an anthropologist, a biologist, a psychologist and a surveyor. They do not go by names, but by titles. Expeditions into Area X are dangerous and most people don’t return or return different. The biologist narrates this tale. The expedition discovers a tower or a tunnel with strange biological writing on the walls. The biologist feels she is being changed by something. Soon the anthropologist and the psychologist disappear. We learn that the biologist’s husband was on the previous expedition and she believes a bit of him may still be in Area X. This is her story; how she came to be here and why and what happens to her as a result.

I have no idea what to think about this book. I don’t really know what happened even after reading it. Is Area X the southeastern part of the U.S.? How far in the future does this take place? What is the Southern Reach organization? This is the beginning of a trilogy and I suppose I will have to read the other two books to have my questions answered. The biologist is an unreliable narrator and the reader can’t know how much of the story is fact and how much comes from the mind of the biologist. It is a strange and horrible book that left me confused, but interested.

09. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, 160 pages, read by Angie, on 02/06/2015

This is the fifth and final book in the Joey Pigza series and the first I have read. Joey’s mother is suffering from postpartum depression and decides to check herself into the hospital. She pulls Joey out of school to take care of his baby brother. The dad had plastic surgery that ruined his face, ran off and is now stalking the family and wants to kidnap the baby. Joey’s blind girlfriend Olivia arrives after being suspended from blind school and moves in with Joey and baby Carter. Joey cleans up the roach-infested house, takes care of Carter, does the grocery shopping and is basically the man of the house.

This is a fairly dark book for one aimed at the middle grade reader. Joey has to deal with a lot of things he shouldn’t have to and there is no parental or adult support. I had a hard time believing that he would be able to leave school like he did or that there would be no social services involvement with the family. Both the parents seem like horrible people and truly bad parents. The mom hides Joey’s medication and undercuts his self-esteem at every chance. The dad has basically abandoned the family but wants to start over with the perfect baby. He too is not very nice to Joey. I am not sure how many kids would be able to relate to this story and I am not sure how many fans it will find outside of the Joey Pigza ones. However, I did find there were lots of funny parts to the story and Olivia in particular was a hoot.

07. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Steam-punk · Tags:

Soulless by Gail Carriger, 373 pages, read by Kira, on 02/06/2015

alexia_tarabotti_and_conall_maccon_by_ulalah-d5jh1kz VictorianPaperDoll images hqdefault 89275d0c54278ce11844f73cb88ce2d3-d31xw43Ms Alexia Tarabotti age 25  is considered an unmarriageable spinster.  In an alternate steampunk Victorian England inhabited by werewolves, vampires, and a few gosts, Ms Tarabotti is able to neutralize these supernatural creatures of the night by touching them, because she is soulless.  After she is attacked by a vampire and kills him with her hairpin and parasol, she becomes a suspect in the disappearance of supernatural creatures.  She starts investigating.  I enjoyed this book.  I liked the humor, the fast pace, and the romance wasn’t overdone.

07. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Paula, Teen Books

Paper Towns by Green, John, 305 pages, read by Paula, on 02/03/2015

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night;dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge;he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

 

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Madeline

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, 343 pages, read by Madeline, on 01/10/2015

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

Description from Goodreads.com.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, 144 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/27/2015

This comic continues to blow me away with its magnificence. If you’re a fan of comics, sci-fi, or even just well-written/plotted stories, do yourself a favor and start reading Saga, post-haste! It’s sooo good.
06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Like Water On Stone by Dana Walrath, 368 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/25/2015

1914, Ottoman Empire: The Donabedian family members have a good life. They mill grain, grow grapes and spend warm summer evenings playing music with friends and neighbors on the rooftop. Unbeknownst to the younger family members, unrest is brewing and their lives are about to change forever. The three youngest siblings are the stars of this story. There’s Shahen, who dreams of moving to America, Sosi, Shahen’s twin sister, who has recently fallen in love with a local boy, and Mariam, the five-year-old baby of the family. As political discontent grows, neighbors advise the family to leave, but their father firmly believes that their Turkish and Kurdish friends will help protect them from the soldiers. Unfortunately, things begin getting bad very quickly. The eldest sons are arrested and later massacred along with other men of fighting age from the village. One night, word comes that violence is on its way. The parents make the brave and devastating decision to send their remaining children off into the night. The three siblings then begin an epic journey over the mountains with little more than the clothes on their backs. All along, an eagle keeps watch over the family and helps to keep the children safe as they hide from soldiers and traverse the unforgiving mountainous landscape.
This novel-in-verse is one of the more heart-wrenching tales I’ve read in recent memory. It’s also the first time I’ve read any fiction about the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This family’s story is heartbreaking, but even worse is the knowledge that these children were the lucky ones. They manage to escape the worst of the violence and are spared from seeing what happens to their parents (though we do, thanks to our friend, the eagle). Since this novel is written in verse, it moves very quickly. The language is beautiful, even if the subject matter is not. The narrative cycles through each of the siblings in addition to the eagle. Readers will breathlessly turn the pages to see what happens to these kids. The inclusion of the eagle adds a touch of magic realism, as well as an effective quasi-omniscient narrator. The end of the book includes an author’s note, a glossary and a list of resources for further exploration of this horrific historical event.
06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple, 304 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/24/2015

This is one of those books that really doesn’t lend itself well to summarizing, but I’ll do my best. There are several groups of characters that exist in several different dimensions (realities?). We have our world, with two of the main characters. Then there’s the world of the Wrenchies, a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the children are technically “safe” from the Shadowsmen, a terrifying entity that attacks anyone “of age” with the purpose of turning their victims into more Shadowsmen. Then there’s yet another dimension with super-heroic adult versions of the Wrenchies as portrayed in the Wrenchies comic book that appears in each of the first two dimensions (our world and the Wrenchies’). The story began a few decades ago when a pair of brothers enter a cave and encounter one of the Shadowsmen. The story picks up later when one of the brothers is an adult living next door to an adolescent boy named Hollis. Hollis doesn’t fit in well with his peers. He wears a superhero outfit everywhere he goes and would prefer to be in his fictional worlds rather than the real one. He finds a totem hovering in the air outside his window and jumps to grab it. He’s then pulled into the world of the Wrenchies, who regard him with a sense of wonder and include him in their group without question. As things get weirder, a character known as “The Scientist” pulls the heroes in through a portal similar to the one Hollis came through. Now they all need to work together to defeat the scourge of Shadowsmen who are also taking advantage of the rifts between dimensions.
There’s a lot of unusual stuff going on in this graphic novel and it’s occasionally hard to explain exactly what’s happening, which means it’s not for everyone. It’s very gritty and violent, which one might expect from roving bands of armed children wandering around a post-apocalyptic world. The treatment of the kids is simultaneously disturbing and heart-warming. In spite of the extreme violence that comprises daily life in the world of the Wrenchies, the bonds they create amongst each other are strong and true. Add in some interesting philosophical dilemmas and you have a thoroughly fascinating, if somewhat disorienting, story. The artwork is lavishly detailed and full-color, making this a graphic novel you can really sink your teeth into. In fact, repeated reads may be required to fully appreciate the experience. I have a feeling one would notice something new upon each read.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Paranormal, Teen Books

(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/22/2015

Gardnerville is not like any town you’ve been in before. Not only is it so remote that it’s only accessible via train (and that only within the last few decades), its residents never get sick and they live far longer than the average person. Prospective residents travel from far and wide for a chance to live within the confines of Gardnerville; the only people accepted are those with life-threatening illnesses. In that sense, Gardnerville is a life-saving town. Something of a paradise. But nothing comes without a price and this town is no exception. There’s a four-year cycle of escalating calamity. In a first year, someone might be mad at someone else and accidentally turn them into an animal. In a forth year, one might see the kind of catastrophe that befell Skylar’s family. Skylar’s sister, Piper, led dozens of the town’s teens on a midnight parade down to the railroad bridge where they all proceeded to jump, many of them to their deaths. Piper now resides in the town’s correctional facility, a place known for taking in troublemakers and turning out hollowed-out husks of human beings. Skylar’s pretty sure that’s where Piper is, anyway.
As the book opens, it’s another fourth year. It’s also late in the year, which is making everyone extra nervous. Skylar’s been living in a drug-fueled haze ever since Piper went away. She takes a pill made from some of the Forget-Me-Not flowers that grow in Gardnerville. Within minutes of taking them, Skylar begins to forget. When she isn’t under the influence of the pills, she’s wishing she had more. Something is nagging at her though. She keeps finding the tape recorder that she and Piper used to use when they were kids. It’s not the only reminder of Piper that she keeps stumbling across, which makes her decide that it’s time to start remembering so that she can get her sister out of the correctional facility and start addressing some of the town’s darker secrets.
There is so much going on in this book that it’s really difficult to summarize. The mythology of the town itself is a bit messy and explanations come very late. Skylar is an unreliably narrator since she’s constantly taking the pills to forget everything. The main narrative alternates with flashbacks that are presumably recorded onto the tape recorder that seems to turn up wherever Skylar has been. The people that surround Skylar don’t seem any more reliable than she does, which only adds to the disorientation.
While I generally love oddball books, this one was just a little too convoluted to make me fall head-over-heels. I did enjoy it, but even with all the craziness, I was able to figure out the major twist, so that was kind of disappointing. I can’t help but think that the confusion is just a bit over the top. It takes forever for the book to get to the point and when there is exposition, it comes in big chunks rather than being seamlessly intertwined with the plot. I had a like/hate relationship with Skylar, who frequently frustrates as she continually drugs herself. She never asks the questions the readers want her to ask and it feels as though she alone is the one dragging out the plot. Still, the concept was intriguing and the writing was decent. Adventurous and patient readers will likely find this entertaining.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Graphic Novel, Horror, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka, 212 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/14/2015

In yet another brutal and intriguing volume, Shiro tries to learn how to cook in order to cheer up Ganta, who has sunk into a deep depression.  It doesn’t really work.  In the aftermath of the prison break, the warden moves things in a new direction.  It is decided that the public will now be shown what “monsters” the Deadmen are.  Behind the scenes, prison officials are now turning regular prisoners into brain-washed Deadmen.  Every time anything gets better in this series, something devastating is sure to follow.  Still, very imaginative, if a bit disturbing.

By the time this book even starts, Kit has had an interesting life. As an orphan, he was picked up by a traveling circus and was known for his show riding before his age hit the double digits. Times changed though and Kit gave up the circus circuit for a more stable life as a servant to a nobleman. Life is uneventful until one night, when his master comes back to the house late at night, bleeding out from bullet wounds. As it turns out, the kind man that Kit thought was a relatively normal fellow is actually one of the most notorious highwayman in the country. In an attempt to go and seek help, Kit dons the clothes his master, Whistling Jack, grabs his French Bulldog, Demon and flees on his horse, Midnight. Jack instructed Kit to go and find a witch in the woods right before scrawling out an indecipherable will. After a daring escape that nearly gets Kit killed, he manages to stumble upon the very woman he was supposed to find. The witch informs him that he must now finish his master’s quest, which involves a number of fantastical beings whose existence was previously unknown to Kit. Kit tries to refuse, but since not completely the quest will end in his death, Kit has no real choice to but to comply. The quest? To rescue a fairy princess who is betrothed to the King of England. Finding the princess is easy. Getting her to cooperate is another matter altogether. Dodging both human and fairy enemies, Kit and Princess Morgana have little more than their wits to rely on as they seek safe passage to neutral territory.
This swashbuckling adventure story is a little bit slow to start with, but picks up steam as the main characters reveal themselves. The plot is very involved and the pacing is a bit quirky. Real historical details add a realistic edge to an otherwise whimsical tale. The occasional footnote provides clarifications primarily of the historical nature. Throughout are illustrations of various scenes and characters. The timing of the illustrations can be disruptive from time to time, but they’re a nice overall addition. There’s a lot of clever wordplay, though some of the vernacular may confuse younger readers. Fans of fantasy or historical adventure won’t be disappointed.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction · Tags:

The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett, 272 pages, read by Angie, on 02/05/2015

Cecily and Jeremy are evacuated to the country with their mother before the London Blitz. They take refuge with their uncle Peregrine in Herron Hall. On the way they adopt an evacuee named May to stay with them for the duration of the war. Fourteen-year-old Jeremy is not happy to be evacuated. He believes he is old enough to contribute to the war and to stay in London with his father. He is angry at being stuck in the country. Twelve-year-old Cecily is a selfish, bossy girl who wants things her way. She wants May to be her pet and follow orders but May has a mind of her own. The girls explore the countryside and discover the ruins of Snow Castle. There are two mysterious boys at the castle who intrigue and frighten the girls by turns. In the evening, Peregrine tells the children the story of a duke who wants to become king and must take care of the two princes in his way.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I think one of my issues was the fact that none of the children were really that likeable. Cecily in particular is completely unlikeable. May was the only one that had a decent personality and she wasn’t that developed. I really enjoyed Uncle Peregrine however and really wanted more of him. As an adult reader, I knew immediately who the story Peregrine tells is about. It is clearly meant to be the story of Richard III and the princes in the tower even though they are never identified by name. I liked the story, but didn’t buy the connection to Snow Castle. I guess as long as the truth is unknown any speculation as to the fate of the princes is valid, but I just felt this was a stretch. I didn’t feel like the two boys at the ruins really added anything to the story and the story could have been just as good if not better without them.

06. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Thriller/Suspense

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, 323 pages, read by Katy, on 02/05/2015

91lUeBR2G1LRachel 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?

From www.goodreads.com. 

I think Gillian Flynn fans will enjoy this book. I didn’t find it as disturbing as Gone Girl, but it is a page turner and keeps you guessing until the end.

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

Witches in Red: A Novel of the Mist-Torn Witches by Barb Hendee, 325 pages, read by Kira, on 02/05/2015

73c9e61f40e8ecb33746dd3ae3504852  Sisters Celine and Amelie are asked by their patron Prince to uncover why men in a remote silver mining town keep turning into werewolves.  Both sisters are seers, Celine can see the future, and Amelie can see the past.werewolf-werewolves-24033227-530-496  I couldn’t put the book down, it was fast paced and intriguing.  I did manage to figure out who was the bad “guy”.  I was disappointed that Amelie needed to be rescued.  I would like to read the first book in the series.

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

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas, 330 pages, read by Brian, on 02/05/2015

veronicaIn the newest Veronica Mars novel, Veronica is investigating the brutal beating of a call girl.  Very good novel.

 

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Fairest by Marissa Meyer , 222 pages, read by Angie, on 02/04/2015

Fairest is Queen Levana’s story and what a story it is. While this doesn’t really change my opinion of the evil queen it does explain a bit about how she got to where she is. Basically Luna royalty is messed up. Levana and her sister Channery aren’t even sad when their parents are murdered. Channery becomes queen and just wants to sleep with every guy she is attracted to, doesn’t care about politics and loves tormenting her little sister. The torment began very early when Channery forced Levana into a fire that horribly disfigured her. This caused Levana to become really good at glamour so no one can see what she really looks like. Levana becomes obsessed with one of the royal guards and tricks him into sleeping with her and then marrying her basically by taking on the glamour of his dead wife. Levana is a pretty twisted character and does a lot of things that make you doubt her sanity. But crazy is often exciting to read about. This doesn’t really give a lot of info about the other books in the series but we do get glimpse of Cinder and Winter’s beginnings and of course how Levana became fixated on Earth.

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber, 196 pages, read by Brian, on 02/05/2015

vampireRaven, a 16 year old girl, who lives in Dullsville, maybe the most boring place on earth.  Until a new family moves into a creepy old mansion.  The family never comes out of the mansion and creepy butler does all the shopping.  Raven is a dedicated goth and the fact the people of the town jokingly calls this new family vampires, peaks her interest even more.  After seeing the son, Alexander, out a night, she instantly falls in love.  Raven, really wants a vampire kiss and will do anything to find out if this is a family of vamps.

 

05. February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz., 273 pages, read by Kira, on 02/03/2015

Witches-of-East-End-Poster-witches-of-east-end-35808568-1200-1600 woee1  thA mother and her two grown daughters seem to live ordinary lives in the town of North Hampton.  However, they are immortal witches banned  centuries ago from using their magic.  Daughter Freya – the wildchild and local bartender – is able to create magic potions that can help.  Frey has found the love of her life, Bran, a little bit nerdy and nervous, but calm, philanthropic millionaire.  Then his brother, hunky bad-boy Killian, shows up and Freya and Killian have a tryst during her engagement party to Bran.   She swears it was a mistake, but can she stay away from Killian.  Her sister Ingrid serves as the towns librarian, but the major wants to develop the land upon which the library sits.  Will Ingrid be able to save her library?  Mother Joanne has other dilemmas to deal with.  Slowly each one begins using their magic for small things and nothing bad happens.  But evil is lurking around the corner.  Will they find it in time to save the world? or at least to save themselves from being sent to prison for practicing witchcraft?  89202450_oWill the council find out about their using their magic?

You think you’re reading a modern-day tale of witches, then you realize, no you’re in the Norse mythology saga.  It seems that more Norse mythology is making its way into current fiction (Runemarks American Gods) .  Its interesting to see Baldur’s narrative again (Giants of the Frost).  This is a fast paced, book, that I couldn’t wait to read more of.