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

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb, 386 pages, 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, 391 pages, 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, 278 pages, 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, 454 pages, 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, 388 pages, 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, 486 pages, read by Leslie, on 01/26/2014


“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, 307 pages, read by Leslie, on 01/12/2014


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, 420 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/31/2013


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, 356 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/24/2013


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, 419 pages, 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, 430 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/13/2013


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.

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

Justice by Faye Kellerman, 388 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/05/2013


Called to investigate the shocking murder of a high-school student, Detective Sergeant Pete Decker finds himself face to face with a world of casual drunkenness, sex and, it seems, violence – the world of suburban Los Angeles’s affluent, rootless teenagers. And, as the father of a nineteen year old daughter, Decker must deal not only with the brutality of the killing but with his own parental terror.

I just really enjoy reading her Decker series, plenty of twists and turns without being terrifying to read.  Plenty of suspense in this one, while we can seem as sure as his friend is that he is not guilty of the murder, you do have to wonder if the main character really did it.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Neferet's Curse by P.C. and Kristin Cast, 146 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/25/2013


The White City, 1893: In turn-of-the-century Chicago, with the World’s Fair bringing bustle and excitement to her home city, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be reveling in her youthful beauty and the excitement around her. But her whole life changed when her mother died, leaving her to be the Lady of Wheiler House. At last, afraid for her life and with nowhere to turn, Emily is Marked by a vampyre and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magickal new life that should allow the wounds from her past to heal. But as she gains strength, and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.

A great companion book to their House of Dark series.  I thoroughly enjoy the backgrounds they create for the main characters in the books.  If Neferet wasn’t such an evil character, I might feel sorry for her.  This book make a great explanation for why she is the way she is.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman, 375 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/20/2013


When Dr. Emil Euler Ganz — a brilliant luminary in the complex fields of cosmology and astrophysics — walked away from accolades and honors, disappearing into thin air twenty-five years ago, his colleagues’ tongues wagged, and rumors abounded. Ten years later, when Ganz reemerged as guru Father Jupiter, leader of the notorious cult the Order of the Rings of God, speculation about his sanity was rampant. But when Ganz is found dead, gossip and wild conjecture are the only clues available to LAPD lieutenant Peter Decker as he faces his most shocking case to date.

I’ve gone back and revisited a favorite author to read some books I’ve skipped over.  I love her books.  She has the right amount of mystery, suspense, light moments and the connection between her characters.  It gives some insight into cults and how they can attract the doubtful fringes of society, both good and bad.  You can see how some people are trapped in them and how the outside world wonders about why they exist.  A good mystery with plenty of twists.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker, 331 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/17/2013


Telling the Truth Could Get Them Killed. Remaining Silent Could Be Worse.When Cooper, Hiro, and Gordy witness a robbery that leaves a man in a coma, they find themselves tangled in a web of mystery and deceit that threatens their lives.

A very interesting who-done-it for kids, will definitely make them think about what they might do in the same place.  I liked the suspense of it, it would not have surprised me to have some addition things happen, though they didn’t.  The story was just right for younger readers.

30. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, 344 pages, read by Leslie, on 11/06/2013


In a future Manhattan devastated by environmental catastrophes and epidemics, sixteen-year-old Lucy survives alone until vicious hounds target her and force her to join Aidan and his band, but soon they learn that she is the target of Sweepers, who kidnap and infect people with plague.

This wasn’t too bad, as far as dystopian novels go.  I thought it was good, but fairly predictable to me.  Teens will enjoy it and want to read the rest of the series to see how the characters turn out.  I think I may pass on the rest of them.  Very interesting to wonder if we would turn out the past as quickly in order to get our survival skills fine tuned.

01. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs, 408 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/30/2013

Code (Virals, #3)

The Virals are put to the ultimate test when they find a geocache containing an ornate puzzle box. Shelton decodes the cipher inside, only to find more tantalizing clues left by “The Gamemaster.” A second, greater geocache is within reach—if the Virals are up to the challenge.

While you can’t imagine any group of teens escaping from so many threats and surviving each one, their secret powers keep them safer than most.  I like the geocaching addition, although it’s not typical of geocaches.  A riveting, keep-you-turning-pages book.  Thoroughly enjoyable!

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Leslie

Ungifted by Gordon Korman, 288 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/21/2013


Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan Curtis is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students, after pulling a major prank at middle school.

Another engaging, fun book by Mr. Korman.  I haven’t seen too many books that deal with the gifted end of the student spectrum but this book kind of nails it.  Add an ungifted student to the mix and the kids realize there is more to school than just studying.  Very recommendable.

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Leslie

Jump Into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall, 352 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/19/2013

Jump into the Sky

In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission. Includes historical notes.

A great, historical fiction account of the 555th parachute battalion, this would be a great read-aloud, leading into black history month.  Add to it, a young boy’s first experience with segregation and the prejudice that accompanied it.  I recommend this to any of my younger readers.

31. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner, 304 pages, read by Leslie, on 10/09/2013

Eye of the Storm

In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia.

While excited to be spending time with her dad, Jaden learns some uncomfortable truths about him and what he has to do with all of the powerful storms that avoid the community that he helped build.  Jaden has to decide if family is more important than doing the right thing.  Very good book to recommend to my younger readers.