21. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Justice by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 10/01/2013

Hired by a prestigious D.C. law firm after barely surviving witnessing the murder of the First Lady, attorney Jessica Ford is deliberately keeping a low profile as she gets a sensational rape case involving a senator’s son, whom she is defending, is abruptly dismissed because the victim recants on the stand. The problem is, Jess suspects that the victim recanted because she was threatened. Meanwhile, she has an uneasy feeling about the beautiful young associate she replaced: where is Allison Howard? No one has seen her since she left the firm. Taking over Allison’s position, Jess becomes more and more haunted by her predecessor. Then she discovers that the victim in the rape case has also disappeared. With the help of her former lover, hunky Secret Service Agent Mark Ryan, Jess starts searching for both women. Soon she uncovers the case of a missing teenage girl who knew Allison. Is there a link? When someone tries to kill her, Jess knows she is getting too close to something — but what? She and Mark race to come up with answers before time runs out.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Superstition by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 09/26/2013

Sparks fly between a police chief and a reporter who are thrown together when a brutal killer comes out of hiding after fifteen years.

Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Sunny, idyllic, and picture perfect, until a tabloid news program airs a splashy segment about the community’s only unsolved murder-the grisly stabbing of teenager Tara Mitchell and the subsequent disappearance of her two best friends, both thought to be long dead. In the years since the murders, several families have moved into the mansion where the crime occurred, each claiming that the dead girls still haunt the house. Beautiful redheaded reporter Nicole Sullivan, sensing the story that could be her big break, arranges for her mother, a renowned psychic, to contact the three victims via a live séance on the show Twenty-four Hours Investigates.

But something goes terribly wrong during the segment, and a young woman is murdered in the exact same manner as Tara Mitchell was fifteen years earlier. Pressured by her producers to get the inside story, Nicole is ordered to continue to investigate. As an attraction grows between Nicole and police chief Joe Franconi, another identical murder occurs, along with a menacing note warning that the original killer is back to claim three more lives. The body count rises, and so does the danger to Nicole, who is attacked, barely escaping with her life. She and Joe are forced to join forces as it becomes clear that the killer has set his sights on Nicole as his next victim.

Tightly plotted and deeply suspenseful, Superstition is Karen Robards’s most captivating work yet.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books

Insurgent by Veronica Roth, read by Melody, on 09/24/2013

One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books

Divergent by Veronica Roth, read by Melody, on 09/22/2013

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Melody, Romance

Tiger's Eye by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 09/19/2013

Lady Isabella St. Just is shocked to learn the identity of the daring champion who comes to her aid — for the man who rescues her from desperate felons is none other than Alec Tyron, the notorious king of London’s underworld. Now she is beholden to an outlaw who is respected and feared throughout the city and stunned by her own intense desire for this dark man of mystery. Fate has united these strangers from opposite lives — the beautiful aristocrat and the brazen criminal outlaw. And now that the flame has been lit, no power on Earth will quench the fire of their passion…or destroy a love that society cannot allow.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Bait by Karen Robards, read by Melody, on 09/12/2013

It’s a business trip that takes attorney Maddie Fitzgerald down to New Orleans, but it’s hardly business as usual when a man breaks into her hotel room and tries to kill her. Barely escaping with her life, the sexy, stylish thirty-two-year-old brunette calls the police and finds herself face-to-face with FBI agent Sam McCabe. Unnerved by his questions-and his good looks-Maddie is told she’s been targeted by a hired killer, one who has eluded McCabe for years. Apparently, she’s been mistaken for another woman, an FBI informant of the same name who was also staying at the hotel that night. McCabe grills her, and then disappears. Shaken, she finishes her business and returns home to St. Louis. But days later, Maddie is attacked a second time, and again McCabe returns to question her. He convinces her that the only way she’ll ever be safe again is if the killer is caught, and the quickest way to nab him is to use her as bait. Maddie reluctantly agrees, and sparks fly and then ignite as McCabe shadows her. But their unexpected romance throws McCabe off his stride-and puts Maddie in the hands of a killer. A bewitching combination of pulse-pounding twists and blazing romance, Baitis the remarkable Karen Robards at her best.

26. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Hunted by Jaycee Clark, read by Melody, on 09/05/2013

Sins can be buried, but they’re never forgotten . . .

Morgan Gaelord has lived with the knowledge of her past and the fear of her secret for years. No one knows the truth behind her nightmares in the hellish Czech Republic underground, and they never will. She’s carved a life for herself, helping her brothers run the family antiquities business. Nothing and no one is taking this slice of contentment away from her.

Lincoln Blade III, owner of the premier Blade Jewelers, has put his past behind him. Retired from his days with InterPol and undercover operations, he’s enjoying the corporate side of life. He’s spent years in the cesspools of society, helping the lucky escape, and he has no intention of being dragged back.

But someone from both their pasts changes that. Women who escaped the world of sex slaves are being hunted and eliminated. When the victims are linked to Blade and his past, he’s forced back into a role he’d vowed to leave behind, and both he and Morgan must trust each other before the killer reaches his final target.

19. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books · Tags:

The Archived by Victoria Schwab, read by Melody, on 03/18/2013

“Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books”  The Archived is absolutely beautiful and original.  I devoured this book in one sitting.  The Archived is the story of  Mackenzie Bishop who is a Keeper of the Archives, a vast library where the stories of everyone who has ever lived are kept.  She is tasked with retrieving the recently dead and taking them to where they will become the Histories.  Schwab is brilliant, balancing grief and regret and love and life like a master.  Amazing book.

19. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody · Tags: ,

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs, read by Melody, on 03/15/2013

Frost Burned is the latest book in the best selling fantasy series Mercy Thompson.  I love that Mercy is quite the kick ass hero, saving just not her coyote shifting skin but also her packs.  Fans of the series will love her newest offering.

19. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Children's Books, History, Melody, NonFiction · Tags:

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and other Female Villains by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, and Rebecca Guay, read by Melody, on 03/15/2013

Bad Girls is the perfect foil to the book I just read about women who changed the world.  While Girls who Rocked the World was about scientists, activists, and heroes who made the world a better place, Bad Girls is about women who made their mark in a different way.  There are blood baths, axe slayings, fallen women, and outlaws.   Mata Hari, Typhoid Mary, Catherine the Great, and Salome.  Yolen and her daughter and co-author Stemple debate in asides between the chapters whether the women were really as bad as history paints them or were there other circumstances to consider.  Fun read and who doesn’t love a bad girl?

19. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Undeadly by Michele Vail, read by Melody, on 03/17/2013

Undeadly is a great debut novel by Michele Vail.  It is the first book of what seems will be a promising series The Reaper Diaries.  Vail’s Undeadly is a refreshing new take on the zombie genre by mixing necromancy with Egyptian mythology.  Great characters and the romance that is inevitable in teen fantasy is not as sticky sweet as the norm.

19. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody · Tags: ,

Shifter's Wolf by Patricia Briggs, read by Melody, on 03/18/2013

Shifter’s Wolf is the debut novel of fan favorite Patricia Briggs who writes the popular werewolf fantasy series Mercy Thompson and Alphas and Omegas.  It was written in Briggs senior year of college and while she shopped it around, it was never picked up. Only after the success of her subsequent novels and a through edit was it published.  Fans of Briggs will enjoy the book.  She is a consummate storyteller with great characters and world building but it is evident to a reader of  her later works that this was a first novel.

13. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody, Memoirs, NonFiction · Tags:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened ( A Mostly True Memoir) by Janny Lawson, read by Melody, on 03/11/2013

Confession: Growing up, my very best friend’s father was a taxidermist.  There were two house rules, the squeamish should not go into his work shed in the back and never look in the black trash bags in the freezer.  Even so, sometimes when you dug for strawberry ice cream a small frozen paw would peek out and wave at you like a lost drowning soul.  Given that childhood horror, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was so the book for me.  The author is a blog writer from Texas who grew up trying desperately to fit in but always thwarted by her taxidermist father, maniacal turkeys, roadkill excursions, and dead animals as decor.  Lawson’s writing is very intelligent and irreverent and to use a much overused cliche, laugh out loud funny.  The very best summation about perhaps the funniest book I read in a very long time is a blurb on the back cover “There’s is something wrong with Jenny Lawson-magnificently wrong.  I defy you to read her work and not hurt yourself laughing.”  There was actually a blurb that suited even better from Jesus but it had the f word so I thought perhaps not to offend others.  And perhaps to give a heads up if you have issues with the f word, you most likely won’t enjoy this book as much as I did.  Otherwise, read, read, read.  And yes, that is a mouse corpse dressed as Hamlet on the front cover.

13. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Melody, Poetry, Teen Books · Tags:

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman, read by Melody, on 03/12/2013

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard is a heartbreaking poetry collection from noted writer and LGBT activist Leslea Newman about the 1998 murder of twenty year old Matthew Shepard.  Shepard was abducted from a bar in Laramie, Wyoming, beaten and robbed, tied to a fence where he bled and cried for eighteen hours until a passing biker found him, and died after laying in a coma for five days.  Shepard was targeted by the two young men for being gay.  The poems are told from various points of view, the fence, a doe who laid beside him that night, his attackers, his family and friends. Absolutely beautiful poems about a horrendous hate crime.  Must read.

13. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Children's Books, Melody, NonFiction · Tags: ,

Girls Who Rocked the World by Michelle Roehm McCann and AMelie Welden , read by Melody, on 03/11/2013

Girls Who Rocked the World is a collection of 46 short biographies of women who changed the world.  It is a great mix of famous and less famous women ranging from the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut to actress Natalie Portman.  It is a children’s book so it is light on the scandals and controversies of the rich and complicated lives of some of these women but it is enjoyable quick read for Women’s History Month.

05. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody · Tags:

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Sheperd, read by Melody, on 03/04/2013

The Madman’s Daughter is a new take on H. G. Wells classic The Island of Daughter of Dr. Moreau.  It tells the story of Juliet Moreau who is living in disgrace after the disappearance of her surgeon father who was accused of gruesome experiments and forbidden science.  After a chance meeting leads her to her father’s assistant, she learns that her father is living on a remote island in the south Pacific.  She sails off to find him and the truth.  As any reader of Wells will know, Dr. Moreau is conducting experiments melding animal and human.  Very Gothic and true to both the plot and tenor of the original work, The Madman’s Daughter is a thrilling dark ride through madness and genius, romance and horror.

05. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody, Science Fiction, Short Stories

Naked CIty by Edited by Ellen Datlow, read by Melody, on 03/02/2013

Gritty short story collection by some of fantasy’s best authors like Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, and Holly Black with urban settings.  Dark and atmospheric, great fantasy read.

05. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Melody, NonFiction, Science

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, read by Melody, on 03/02/2013

Interesting book on the history of salt.  It is amazing what is now so plentiful that we throw on our roads as a de-icer was once a precious and rare commodity that caravans crossed the desert for and created empires. Salt discusses methods of salt extraction, uses of salt as a preservative and seasoning, and the practical applications of salt in industry.  Fun fact for the day; salted fish sauce has long been a flavoring used by societies from the Romans and Greeks in antiquity to the cuisine of southeast Asia and China today and initially, our favorite condiment catsup was an anchovy tomato sauce until the Americans and the British moved away from having fish in the sauce.

03. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody, Short Stories · Tags: , ,

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon by Edited by P. N. Elrod, read by Melody, on 03/02/2013

Another fun short story collection by today’s big stars of fantasy and science fiction.

03. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody, Teen Books · Tags:

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry, read by Melody, on 03/01/2013

Whilst non-readers of science fiction and fantasy might contend that the genres by their very natures are fanciful and unrealistic, there are tenets to their storytelling as with any other writing.  One of the integral aspects of fantasy and science fiction is world-building.  A writer can choose to create a wholly new world or implant their story in a world already created like Oz or Grimm tales  Regardless of the type of world, there are rules.  One of the rules is that the world must make sense and if it our own world, is should be explained how it fits into our reality.  J. K.  Rowling inserts magic into our world by telling the reader that Muggles are unaware of the magical,  Laurell K Hamilton goes to great length discussing the coming out of fairies to society, Jim Butcher’s Chicago is full of citizens being surprised by the existence of the supernatural.  Thus lies my discontent with The Peculiars.  McQuerry goes to great length to firmly place the book in our world in the late 1800′s.  Her characters discuss Charles Darwin and evolution, steam engines rattle down rails, and horse power is being replaced by machines.  And yet, there is a land to the north called Scree where non-human creatures call Peculiars are rumored to live.  It was very unsettling and jarring, is this our world or is it not?  McQuerry is a good enough writer with an acceptable sense of pacing and characterization but I could not get past what I see as glaring flaws in her plot.