06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb, read by Leslie, on 04/30/2014

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In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.

Dallas and Roarke do it again, solve murders while juggling the home life and love.  I hope they never make these books into a movie because no actors could ever live up to what I imagine in my head.  While in some of her books, Dallas is hot on the heels of a murderer who is still out in her city committing more murders, these are old ones.  The ages of the victims, bring out her past, as well as Mavis’, something that hasn’t been delved into very deeply in past books.  The twist at the end is very neat, you can sort of catch a glimpse of it early on, but you can’t quite be sure that what you think is true of the storyline.  If you like J.D. Robb, you will surely enjoy the newest installment of this series.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

The Five Lives of our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin, read by Leslie, on 04/12/2014

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As ten-year-old Oona and her younger brother conspire to break their sick cat Zook out of the veterinary clinic, Oona tells the story of Zook’s previous lives.

I love how Oona makes up stories to entertain her brother in the ways of the world, with themselves as the central characters.  She does this because her father did it with her and he has passed away, it’s a way to keep her father alive for both her brother and herself.  While she gets herself into trouble on occasion and says things occasionally she knows is hurtful, she comes through at the end, making things right and learning life lessons.  Girls will probably be drawn more to this book than the boys will, but I think it would suit any reader.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie · Tags:

Privateer's Apprentice by Susan Verrico, read by Leslie, on 04/08/2014

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From Charles Towne, Carolina Territory, in 1712, thirteen-year-old Jameson Cooper, orphaned and indigent, is abducted by privateers working for Queen Anne but proves himself worthy to be called a royal sailor through his writing and drawing skills, as well as his hard work and courage.

I find that this will be a book that appeals to boys, not really sure about the girls, however, as it really has no female characters to speak of.  I think that if the reader pays attention, they may get quite a life lesson from this book, to take pride in whatever work you find yourself doing.  Full of adventure, a little suspense, I did enjoy the story.

06. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, read by Leslie, on 04/05/2014

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After making a life-changing decision, Sydney Sage, an Alchemist who serves to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires, must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend.

I enjoy this series, vampires and all.  Poor Sydney, now that she has overcome her aversion to vampires, the good ones, that is, she can’t reveal her true love for fear that her family will find out and re-educate her.  Even vampires suffer from teen angst, it seems.  Can’t we all just learn to get along?  Sydney certainly hopes so!

03. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery · Tags:

The Shadow Collector's Apprentice by Amy Gordon, read by Leslie, on 03/31/2014

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In the summer of 1963, after his father has inexplicably disappeared leaving Cully with his three eccentric aunts on their barely profitable apple farm, Cully goes to work for a mysterious antiques dealer who has the strange hobby of collecting shadows.

Another good read for both boys and girls, from Amy Gordon.  A bit of mystery rolled in with suspense and history.  Some of it is a bit far-fetched for me, but not for kids.  They will enjoy this one as a Mark Twain nominee.

03. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery · Tags:

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2014

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When the original Star Spangled Banner is stolen, seventh-graders Anne, José, and Henry, all descendants of the Silver Jaguar Society, pursue suspects on airport carts and through baggage handling tunnels while stranded at a Washington, D.C., airport during a snowstorm.

A great first in a mystery series for young readers.  While easy for me to see where the plot is heading, kids will definitely enjoy the twists and turns the author takes them on.  A Mark Twain nominee, I can recommend this to both boys and girls.

03. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 03/28/2014

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Bosque Mar haunts Adne and Logan’s dreams, trying to turn Adne to the dark side as he attempts to escape the Nether, where Calla, Shay and the other Guardians trapped him in the final battle of the War of All Against All.

If you enjoy this series, you will like the way she continues the story of this world. I was hoping that the trilogy was not the finish and this book does not disappoint.  Now I can only wonder how the wolves will play a role in this next chapter of the saga.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 03/23/2014

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Calla Tor, the alpha member of her shapeshifting wolf pack, must decide if her illicit love for the human Shay is worth the ultimate sacrifice.

The final book in this trilogy does not disappoint in the end. So as not to spoil the ending, I won’t say who dies, if they save the world, or what happens to the characters in the end.  Suffice it to say that it’s a good read, especially for those who enjoy paranormal type of books.  Young adults and teens will definitely enjoy it.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb, read by Leslie, on 03/14/2014

Thankless in Death (In Death, #37)

As the household of NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke prepares for an invasion of family and friends for Thanksgiving, an ungrateful son decides to stop the nagging from his parents – by ending their lives.

I find it amusing that Eve does not know what to do with all the family she is slowly accumulating.  And while trying to solve a murder used to give her an excuse to not attend family functions and parties, you can see her character evolving enough to enjoy them.  Another great Eve Dallas murder novel.

01. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb, read by Leslie, on 03/07/2014

Calculated in Death (In Death, #36)

When Marta Dickenson, a well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, is murdered, Lieutenant Eve Dallas immerses herself in her billionaire husband Roarke’s world of big business to discover who arranged a hit on an innocent woman.

Another good Eve Dallas murder, with all the right twists, enough to keep you guessing.  I like this series because it has just the right amount of romance (not much, but steamy when it’s there), and her characters are mostly believable (enough you could see the possibility.) I always recommend this series to anyone who enjoys mysteries.

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 02/21/2014

Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)

Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

In the 2nd book of the series, Calla is determined to save her friends from the life they’ve always known and that she has learned is not what she imagined. She learns more truths than she could imagine existed in her old world and the new one she is trying to claim.  Worth the read.

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs, read by Leslie, on 02/15/2014

Flash and Bones (Temperance Brennan, #14)

Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan’s office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble’s sister, Cindi, then a high school senior and aspiring racer, disappeared along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with a group of right-wing extremists known as the Patriot Posse. Could the body be Cindi’s? Or Cale’s?

Who knew I could learn anything about racing in a Temperance Brennan book?  Of course, it was more about the murders, both past and current, in the book but there was some interesting information included.  Another good book by Kathy Reichs, not too long or too technical in details.

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 02/08/2014

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)

Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack’s alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack together, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything – her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?

Calla has lived her whole life believing what she’s been told, what she has to do.  While she has had her doubts and questions, never has she felt the desire to act on them until she meets Shay.  Together they break away from what she’s always been taught and try to forge a new future for her friends and family while learning the truth about the dark nature of who she is.  Thoroughly enjoyed this book!

03. March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Rise by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 02/05/2014

Rise (Nightshade Prequel, #2)

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the  couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

I like to read prequels before I read a series, especially once I discover the series after they are all published.  Very interesting to read books that weave supernatural society next to human society, although this one isn’t really secret from the humans.  In this series, the dark side has found it’s way into our world.  Now it is up to the descendants of those who fight against the dark to try and erase it’s existence in the realm of humanity.  Can’t wait to see how it works in the future.  Good read for young adults.

01. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton, read by Leslie, on 01/26/2014

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“Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall” October 1988 Santa Teresa California narrates PI Kinsey Milhone 38. One is shady PI Pete Wolinsky, shot and robbed. Second is homeless alcoholic Terrence Dace from kidney and liver failure. He rejected children, bequeathed fortune to Kinsey. Pete’s gun shows up in Kinsey’s car, dropped by Felix, killed after he retrieved friend Dace’s stolen stuff.

Another great Kinsey Milhone mystery.  I hate to think that Z is right around the corner!  Although it has taken her awhile to get through the alphabet, Grafton has not rushed through them just to get to the end.  Her characters have remained constant, especially Kinsey.  I would imagine it is hard to maintain that the date is still in the late 80s, but she does a great job.  Each book has been different in the mystery it presents but her main characters are constant and I’m glad to see them each time.

01. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich, read by Leslie, on 01/12/2014

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New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in–not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because “just Stephanie’s luck” the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.

I love the way her books make me laugh, I get disappointed if Stephanie Plum doesn’t blow up or mangle at least one vehicle.  This is one of her typical Plum books, full of missteps and bungling, not to mention Joe and Ranger.  I don’t know if this is the last in the series, it ended in such a way to make that a possibility.

03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Time Riders: The Doomsday Code by Alex Scarrow, read by Leslie, on 12/31/2013

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The TimeRiders travel back to Robin Hood’s Middle Ages to search for the mythical Holy Grail and to stop the future from changing.

Once again, the Agency team finds themselves trying to figure out how to change time back to it’s proper line. I enjoyed this one, with it’s reference to the Middle Ages, Robin Hood, the Templars, etc. This time, however, the team members all have moments where they are tempted to leave the altered time line as it is.  I guess when you come from a future that isn’t so great, changes can seem to be better.

03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie

Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea, read by Leslie, on 12/24/2013

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Several students relate their experiences helping Mr. Terupt move the old classroom to the sixth grade annex during the summer vacation.

Excited for the new school year, and the fact that they get to stay with Mr. Terupt, the students continue to find what is good in themselves and each other.  Their friendships become stronger and they learn to find what is strong in themselves.  And this year, Mr. Terupt falls in a good way.

03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Time Riders: The Eternal War by Alex Scarrow, read by Leslie, on 12/20/2013

The Eternal War (TimeRiders, #4)

A time wave has altered the entire history of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln followed Liam into the present from 1831 and now the world is in a dangerous state of limbo. If the TimeRiders can’t return Lincoln to the past, the Civil War will never end.

I like this series, I seem to find myself reading them, even though the characters seem to follow the same plot line in each book.  I read 4 before 3, something I admonish my students not to do, but it was all good.  What I really find fascinating is how the author takes a story, changes what happens to any historical figure and imagines how the future would turn out without that character.  In this particular book, however, I cannot imagine that the Civil War would continue for as long as it does in altered time, as well as certain technologies never being invented, all because Lincoln isn’t President.  I guess that’s makes me a reader and not a writer.

03. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Rift by Andrea Cremer, read by Leslie, on 12/13/2013

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Sixteen-year-old Lady Ember Morrow fulfills a family obligation by joining her friend Alistair in the Conatus Guard and begins training to help with the order’s true mission, to seek out and stop evildoers and their unnatural creations.

While waiting for the Nightshade series books to become available, I thought I would start with the prequel books.  If you like supernatural/paranormal mixed with a bit of historical flavoring, you will enjoy this book.  It reminds me of the House of Night series by Cast, the young recruit finds herself enmeshed in something she never expected.  Ember has to decide whether to choose love or the darkness.