11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Thriller/Suspense

Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom, read by Lisa, on 01/30/2013

Fans of Carlos Ruiz Zaf n’s The Shadow of the Windand Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsongwill fall in love with Winter in Madrid, the arresting new novel from C. J. Sansom. In September 1940, the Spanish Civil War is over and Madrid lies in ruins while the Germans continue their march through Europe. Britain stands alone as General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett, a privileged young man who was recently traumatized by his experience in Dunkirk and is now a reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of Sandy Forsyth, an old school friend turned shadowy Madrid businessman, Brett finds himself involved in a dangerous game and surrounded by memories.

Meanwhile, Sandy’s girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own—to find her former lover Bernie Piper, whose passion for the Communist cause led him into the International Brigades and who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

In a vivid and haunting depiction of wartime Spain, Winter in Madridis an intimate and riveting tale that offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding and the profound impact of impossible choices.

11. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa, Teen Books

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, read by Lisa, on 01/30/2013

Standing on the fringes of life…offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa

The yellow eyes of crocodiles by Katherine Pancol, William Rodarmor (Translation), Helen Dickinson (Translation), read by Lisa, on 01/27/2014

When her chronically unemployed husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress, Joséphine Cortès is left in an unhappy state of affairs. The mother of two—confident, beautiful teenage Hortense and shy, babyish Zoé—is forced to maintain a stable family life while making ends meet on her meager salary as a medieval history scholar. Meanwhile, Joséphine’s charismatic sister Iris seems to have it all—a wealthy husband, gorgeous looks, and a très chic Paris address—but she dreams of bringing meaning back into her life. When Iris charms a famous publisher into offering her a lucrative deal for a twelfth-century romance, she offers her sister a deal of her own: Joséphine will write the novel and pocket all the proceeds, but the book will be published under Iris’s name. All is well—that is, until the book becomes the literary sensation of the season.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, read by Lisa, on 01/22/2014

In the tradition of Out of My MindWonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life… until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

A Necessary End by Peter Robinson, read by Lisa, on 01/20/2014

In the usually peaceful town of Eastvale, a simmering tension has now reached breaking point. An anti-nuclear demonstration has ended in violence, leaving one policeman stabbed to death. Fired by professional outrage, Superintendent ‘Dirty Dick’ Burgess descends with vengeful fury on the inhabitants of ‘Maggie’s Farm’, an isolated house high on the daleside. Inspector Banks is uneasy about Burgess’s handling of the investigation. But he has been warned off the case. Soon Banks realises that the only way he can salvage his career is by beating Burgess to the killer.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

Rodzina by Karen Cushman, read by Lisa, on 01/17/2014

In 1881, 12-year-old Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski wishes she didn’t have to board the orphan train in Chicago. But she has no home, no family, and no choice. Rodzina doesn’t believe the orphans are on their way out West to be adopted by good families. She’s sure they will become slaves to strangers. Anyway, who would ever adopt a large, tough, stubborn girl of Polish origin? As the train heads west, all Rodzina has is a small suitcase and her family memories from the past. Will Rodzina ever step off the train to find the family that deep in her heart she’s searching for?

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur, read by Lisa, on 01/10/2014

“I’m obsessed with abandoned things.” Siena’s obsession began a year and a half ago, around the time her two-year-old brother Lucca stopped talking. Now Mom and Dad are moving the family from Brooklyn to Maine hoping that it will mean a  whole new start for Lucca and Siena. She soon realizes that their wonderful old house on the beach holds secrets. When Siena writes in her diary with an old pen she found in her closet, the pen writes its own story, of Sarah and Joshua, a brother and sister who lived in the same house during World War II. As the two stories unfold, amazing parallels begin to appear, and Siena senses that Sarah and Joshua’s story might contain the key to unlocking Lucca’s voice.

31. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

Below by Meg McKinlay, read by Lisa, on 01/03/2014

Secrets have a way of floating to the surface. . . . Mystery, compelling characters, and an abandoned town beneath a lake make for a must-read adventure.

On the day Cassie was born, they drowned her town. The mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools’ worth of water. Now, twelve years later, Cassie feels drawn to the manmade lake and the mysteries it hides — and she’s not the only one. Her classmate Liam, who wears oversized swim trunks to cover the scars on his legs, joins Cassie in her daily swims across the off-limits side of the lake. As the summer heats up, the water drops lower and lower, offering them glimpses of the ghostly town and uncovering secrets one prominent town figure seems anxious to keep submerged. But like a swimmer who ventures too far from shore, Cassie realizes she can’t turn back. Can she bring their suspicions to light before it’s too late — and does she dare?

31. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa · Tags: ,

A Christmas Memory: One Christmas; The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote, read by Lisa, on 12/24/2013

Taking its place next to Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood on the Modern Library bookshelf is this new and original edition of Capote’s most famous short stories: “A Christmas Memory, ” “One Christmas, ” and “A Thanksgiving Memory.” All three stories are distinguished by Capote’s delicate interplay of childhood sensibility and recollective vision.

From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire” (The Wall Street Journal), author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System (“Important and riveting”—Library Journal), The Language Police (“Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating”—The New York Times), and other notable books on education history and policy—an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
​In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point. ​She argues that federal programs such as George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top set unreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, and result in teachers being fired if their students underperform, unfairly branding those educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
Reign of Error begins where The Death and Life of the Great American School System left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, and in a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserve and improve it. She makes clear what is right about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, and how we can fix it.

​For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, about learning, about developing character, and about creating citizens for our society. It’s about helping to inspire independent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school education is essential to our democracy, and its aim, since the founding of this country, has been to educate citizens who will help carry democracy into the future.

27. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense

Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie, read by Lisa, on 11/29/2013

Senior policeman Commander Albert Gilbert is found dead at home. Inspector Duncan Kincaid and his partner Sergeant Gemma James soon have their prime suspect in Geoff Genovase, until one of Gemma’s colleagues, Jackie Temple, voices her suspicions about a senior police officer.

27. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Lisa, Romance

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, read by Lisa, on 11/22/2013

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

27. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer, read by Lisa, on 11/15/2013

Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard’s goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster’s mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants-and put their big ambitions to the test. Full of humor, unforgettable characters, surprises, and lots and lots of heart, this is Joan Bauer at her most engaging.

27. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, read by Lisa, on 11/08/2013

My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.

27. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Lisa, Mystery, Science Fiction

The Lambkins by Eve Bunting, read by Lisa, on 11/01/2013

Kyle Wilson was the size of a regular ninth grader until crazy Mrs. Shepherd injected him with a shrinking formula. Now he’s a prisoner in her dollhouse, the fourth Lambkin in Mrs. Shepherd’s collection! She loves them and would never harm them, she says . . . as long as they don’t make her angry.

One thing is certain. Kyle and the others must figure out how to escape, and fast.

01. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons, read by Lisa, on 10/31/2013

In this sequel to Gibbons’s beloved classic Ellen Foster, Ellen, now fifteen, is settled into a permanent home with a new mother. Strengthened by adversity and blessed with enough intelligence to design a salvation for herself, she still feels ill at ease. But while she holds fast to the shreds of her child­hood—humoring her best friend, Stuart, who is determined to marry her; and protecting her old neighbor, slow-witted Starletta—she begins to negotiate her way into a larger world.  With a singular mix of perspicacity, naïveté, and compas­sion, Ellen draws us into her life and makes us fall in love with her all over again.

22. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa, Teen Books

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, read by Lisa, on 10/18/2013

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

22. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons, read by Lisa, on 10/09/2013

“When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy.” So begins the tale of Ellen Foster, the brave and engaging heroine of Kay Gibbons’s first novel, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Institute of Arts and Letters. Wise, funny, affectionate, and true, Ellen Foster is, as Walker Percy called it, “The real thing. Which is to say, a lovely, sometimes heartwrenching novel. . . . [Ellen Foster] is as much a part of the backwoods South as a Faulkner character—and a good deal more endearing.”

22. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery, read by Lisa, on 10/02/2013

At sixteen, Anne is grown up…almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else’s romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.

04. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Lisa

The Last Present by Wendy Mass, read by Lisa, on 09/28/2013

Amanda and Leo have a history with birthdays. Now their friend’s little sister, Grace, has fallen into a strange frozen state on her birthday, and Amanda and Leo must travel in time in order to fix whatever’s wrong. As they journey back to each of Grace’s birthdays, they start seeing all sorts of patterns . . . which raise all sorts of questions.

Amanda and Leo are going to have to unravel the threads of the past and present – and travel much further than they ever imagined – if they’re going to save Grace. Luckily, a little birthday magic always helps in the charming and funny Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass, where everything is possible and there are no coincidences.