One Plastic Bag is the story of Isatou Ceesay and how she created an industry in Gambia where the women recycled plastic bags into bags and purses. Plastic bags were a huge environmental problem in Gambia and one day Isatou had enough. She cleaned the bags, made them into string and wove bags out of them. The new bags were sold and helped the people of her area. It is an inspiring story about how one person can make a difference.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales by Terry Pratchett, 352 pages, read by Angie, on 01/23/2015

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of short stories from Terry Pratchett’s youth. In them you can see the beginnings of Pratchett’s signature snarky style and irreverent humor. These fourteen tales are fun and funny and slightly silly. Fans of Pratchett will certainly enjoy this peak into his early work.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, NonFiction, True Crime · Tags:

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum by Jason Felch, Ralph Frammolino, 375 pages, read by Angie, on 01/24/2015

Chasing Aphrodite is the story of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It is one of the world’s richest museums, founded by John Getty and funded through the fortune he accumulated through Getty Oil. This is not a dry retelling of how a museum came to be and how it gathered its collection. The Getty is a museum home to scandal and intrigue to tax fraud schemes and affairs to reform and theft. It was simply a hot-bed of controversy and scandal that rocked the art world and brought forth reform in the way antiquities were acquired. The authors are two Los Angeles Times reporters who broke the story of the shady dealings at the Getty and received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for their investigations. They have expanded on their articles and created a true crime novel that is immensely readable and a definite page turner. The scandals at the Getty revolved around museum curator Marrion True and how Greek and Roman antiquities were acquired. The Getty was not alone in acquiring pieces through shady deals and looters. Many of the world’s leading museums were also guilty, but the Getty was the museum Italian prosecutors zealously went after in their quest to stop the patrimony of Italy being looted. If you are at all interested in the art world, I would highly recommend this book to you. It was fascinating and I simply couldn’t put it down.

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, 301 pages, read by Angie, on 01/23/2015

This is one of those books that stays with you. Even days after I finished reading it I am still thinking about it and the world Lelye Walton created. I generally don’t like magical realism books; they just aren’t my thing, but there was something about this one that got its hooks into me and wouldn’t let go. The title is misleading; this is not just a book about Ava Lavender, the girl born with wings. It is the tragic story of her entire family going back generations. It starts with her great-grandfather moving the family to New York. New York is not gentle with the Roux family. All of them suffer for love and die, all except Emilienne who flees New York, marries a baker and moves to the house on Pinnacle Lane. Her husband dies early leaving her with neighbors who think she is a witch, a young Viviane to raise and a bakery. Viviane too has her troubles with love. She ends us broken hearted with two young children: Henry who barely speaks and sees things others cannot and Ava with her glorious wings. She sequestered them in the house on Pinnacle Lane but even that cannot stop the tragedy that seems to follow the family.

This is not a happy book in any way. There is death and loss and rape and people turning into birds. It is like a dark fairy tale told to scare children and warn them about the dangers of love. The entire time you are reading it you know terrible things are just around the corner. You want to warn the characters but you can’t. There is a lot that can’t be explained but you realize you don’t need an explanation. You can just believe that this is the way the world works in Walton’s mind. This is not a book for everybody but those that get lost in the story will have a hard time finding themselves again.

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

Take a chance by Abbi Glines, 234 pages, read by Melody, on 01/25/2015

When Harlow Manning’s rocker father goes on tour, he sends her to Rosemary Beach, Florida, to live with her half-sister, Nan. The problem: Nan despises her. Harlow has to keep her head down if she wants to get through the next nine months, which seems easy enough. Until gorgeous Grant Carter walks out of Nan’s room in nothing but his boxer briefs.

Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He’d known about Nan’s reputation, but still he couldn’t resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow’s eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her?

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Hush by Karen Robards, 416 pages, read by Kim K, on 01/24/2015

When Riley Cowan finds her estranged husband Jeff dead in his palatial home, she’s sure it’s no coincidence. The police rule it a suicide, but Riley thinks someone’s out for blood—specifically someone Jeff’s father ripped off in one of the biggest financial fraud cases of all time. She suspects that someone is trying to send a message to Jeff’s father: Tell me where the money is, or everyone you care about will die.

Riley’s in-laws might be billionaires, but she’s afraid that not even their dirty money can protect her from an irate investor who will stop at nothing to get his hands on his misappropriated cash. Enter Finn Bradley, Philly-based FBI agent and Riley’s love interest from way back when. Finn agrees to help Riley, and the two reignite sparks they both thought were extinguished long ago. But can they discover the killer’s identity in time, before he resurfaces—and strikes again?

Dubbed an “exceptional storyteller” by the Chicago Tribune and “one of the most popular voices in women’s fiction” by Newsweek, Karen Robards’s latest action-packed novel will keep you glued to the pages until the final, shocking conclusion.

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

Simple perfection by Abbi Glines, 256 pages, read by Melody, on 01/24/2015

Woods had his perfect life mapped out for him. Rise up the ranks of the family business. Marry the rich girl of his parents’ dreams. Pretend that wealth and privilege was all he’d ever wanted. Then a girl named Della breezed into town, a beautifully imperfect stranger who captured his heart and opened his eyes to a new kind of future. Woods is ready and willing to sacrifice everything for her when the sudden death of his father leaves him with his mother to care for and a business to manage.

Della is determined to be strong for Woods, even as she’s quietly falling to pieces. No matter how far from home she’s run, the ghosts of her past have never stopped haunting her. Struggling to hide her true feelings from Woods, Della fears she can’t be his rock without dragging him down into the darkness with her. But is she strong enough to let go of the last thing holding her together?

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance

Twisted perfection by Abbi Glines, 290 pages, read by Melody, on 01/24/2015

Life outside of her house was a new experience for Della Sloane. The dark secrets of her past weren’t something she ever intended to share with anyone. They would never understand. No one would ever get close enough to find out. There was always a chance she’d go crazy sooner than they expected…

Woods Kerrington had never been one to be attracted to fragile females. They seemed like too much work. He wasn’t in it for the work just the pleasure. A night full of naughty fun had been exactly what was on his mind when he’d laid eyes on the hot little number that didn’t know how to pump gas and needed some help.

What he didn’t know was she was as fragile as they came. The carefree girl who spoke her mind and didn’t care what the world thought of her was more breakable than he could ever imagine…

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Sweet talk by Julie Garwood, 282 pages, read by Melody, on 01/23/2015

Attorney and IRS agent Olivia Mackenzie is the kind of tough, wise-cracking, powerful woman fans expect from a Garwood protagonist—but this time she has outdone herself. Olivia is not just any woman, she is every woman; flawed in the familiar ways so many of us are.

On the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naïve and unsuspecting victims, Olivia suddenly finds her own life is in danger after she asks questions of the wrong people. She is accustomed to fighting for the underdog, but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when enough is enough, Olivia calls for reinforcements.

When she meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid there is an immediate and obvious attraction, palpable on both sides. Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Lisa

Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, Peter de Sève (Illustrator), 255 pages, read by Lisa, on 01/23/2015

Daystar never thought he’d be walking through the Enchanted Forest with a magic sword, a fire-witch, and a baby dragon. He never dreamed his mother, Cimorene, would tell him to leave their home and not to return until his task was complete. Or that he alone held the power to release King Mendanbar and the Enchanted Forest from the wizards’ evil spell. He doesn’t even know who King Mendanbar is.

But Daystar learns quickly — and that’s good, because he’s about to encounter magic and wizards and dragons. Quite a deadly combination.

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim K, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

The ideal man by Julie Garwood, 322 pages, read by Kim K, on 01/22/2015

Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter’s face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.

Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he’s definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she’s attracted to him in a way she can’t explain.

Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister’s wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she’ll be called to testify. But they’ve been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence-or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie’s shadow until the trial, and it isn’t long before sparks fly.

Description from Goodreads.com

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

The Pact by Karina Halle, 379 pages, read by Jessica, on 01/25/2015

9156ZKV7wjL._SL1500_It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them were in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounded like fun and games at the time but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.

Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

26. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Mystery · Tags: ,

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro, 355 pages, read by Katy, on 01/25/2015

28f66df71805c678fc6eb7a13446aecdOn March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art today worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

From www.goodreads.com.

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

 

23. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White , 496 pages, read by Angie, on 01/22/2015

Kara Westfall was five when her mother was killed for being a witch. Her mother allegedly killed her best friend before being caught. Even Kara’s father denounces her as an evil witch. They live on an island in the middle of the ocean and follow the Path of Timoth Clen who helped rid the world of witches. They are a secluded group cut off from the world. The island is also home to the Thickety, a magically impenetrable forest that the villagers must fight to keep clear of their land. When Kara is twelve she discovers a book that she believes is her mother’s grimoire. She starts casting spells and realizes the danger that the use of magic creates. Everyone’s favorite girl Grace (who is actually horrible) discovers Kara’s magic and finds that she too is a witch. Grace wants the power magic holds however and soon Kara is doing everything she can to survive and ensure the survival of her family.

I really enjoy this type of book with magic and fantastical creatures and interesting worlds. I do wish we would have learned more about the world outside the island. Is it like our world? Is it filled with magic and fantastical creatures as well? Kara is one of those spunky heroines that you just can’t help cheering for. She makes mistakes but has the good of the village in her heart. I wish there was more dimension to Grace’s character. She is just your typical mean girl on a power trip for the most part. However, the action is good and the story will keep you turning the pages.

22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

My Cousin's Keeper by Simon French, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 01/21/2015

Kiernan wants to fit in with the cool kids at school and he does just barely. That could all change when his strange cousin Bon comes to town. Bon has long, girly hair, wears old, raggedy clothes and likes to draw. He and his mom Renee have moved around a lot and the family has barely seen them. Bon gets bullied at school by Kiernan and his friends. Bon’s only friend is the other new kid Julia who seems to be attending school for the first time and has a secret past. As Bon becomes more a permanent part of Kiernan’s family he has to come to terms with his feelings and decide if he is going to do right by Bon.

This story has a lot going on. Bon is bullied, Kiernan is a bully. Renee seems to have some kind of mental health issue and there is the issue of child neglect regarding Bon. Julie has been kidnapped by her mother from her father who has custody. It is pretty heavy stuff and sometimes handled a bit heavy-handed in the book. I thought the message of the book was great. It is all about being who you are and accepting people for who they are. The only problem was that it came across very messagey and seemed to read like an after school special.

22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Autobiographies, Brian, NonFiction

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming, 294 pages, read by Brian, on 01/22/2015

alanAlan Cumming is one of those actors who is fantastic in any role he played, yet many people do not know his name.  Like so many entertainers his early life was full of pain.  His father hated him and abused Alan throughout his childhood, actually he abused everyone he knew.  His father was a womanizer and later in life this made Alan wondered if his father was really his father.  This book is touching and heart filled.

 

22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, History, Humor, Informational Book, Tammy

Bed Manners: A Very British Guide to Boudoir Etiquette by Ralph Hopton , 151 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/15/2015

bed manners Ever wonder how to avoid offending your spouse with your evening sleeping habits? Or perhaps wonder what the challenges might be of sleeping with another person if you never have? This could be the guide book for you. Originally published in the 1930s the book addresses bedroom etiquette with a sense of humor. It is amazing how few of the basic problems have changed over the years. Husbands and wives still bicker over whose job it is to investigate noises in the middle of the night, who has to get up to get another blanket or close the window or do we even want the window open.

22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Tammy · Tags: , , , ,

Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan , 223 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/14/2015

jane austen A history of Jane Austen’s novels and how they were published. Includes full-color photos of the covers of each edition and information about the printing process. It is interesting to see how cover art has changed through the years.

22. January 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: History, How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff by Charles Carson , 117 pages, read by Tammy, on 01/14/2015

downton Some items refer specifically to the household of the television show Downton Abbey, but most information given is historically researched. Even includes recipes and instructions for everything from cleaning silver to properly storing seasonal clothes to protect them from dust and bugs. For fans of the show as well as those looking for traditional cleaning information.