world according to bobJames and his street cat, Bob, have been on a remarkable journey together. James was a homeless drug addict before meeting Bob. Bob helped James see important truths: friendship, loyalty, trust and happiness. This book picks up where “A Street Cat Named Bob” left off. James shares how Bob has been his protector and guide through illness, hardship and danger. James has taught Bob tricks such as how to high five but he knows he has learned so much more from his street-wise cat. Not just an animal story but the story of one man and his animal companion.

15. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Cats, Short Stories, Tammy · Tags: ,

Christmas Cats by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, 246 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/14/2014

christmas catsAll cat lovers will enjoy these 19 short stories, essays and poems. Some are new while others are previously published. Murphy, the serious editor is the author of the popular mystery series featuring a cat detective. There’s something for everyone, including an informative piece by Christine Church on holiday safety for cats.

15. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy · Tags:

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle , 167 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/13/2014

last unicorn

A beautifully illustrated graphic novel version of the story of the last unicorn. I first encountered this story as a movie inspired by the story also by Peter S. Beagle. The story leads our heroes to question what their purpose in life is and what is worth fighting and possibly dying for.

15. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy · Tags: ,

Favole: Stone Tears by Victoria Francés, 48 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/12/2014


favole
An English translation with beautifully detailed Gothic illustrations. Victoria Frances relates the memories of a vampires and the ladies that haunt him including his one true love through time. Full of forbidden love, magic, lost innocence and longing.

14. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

Maybe Not by Colleeen Hoover, 129 pages, read by Jessica, on 12/14/2014

71plHWxokBL._SL1500_Colleen Hoover, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe Someday, brilliantly brings to life the story of the wonderfully hilarious and charismatic Warren in a new novella, Maybe Not.

When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

downloadThis innovative book teaches you how to rediscover the delightful curiosity you had as a child.  Wahl walks the reader through how we were when we were younger, how we are now, and how we can find our Picasso.  Picasso is an acronym Wahl uses to describe his methods for rediscovering creative genius.  Wahl gives examples of each step, as well as quotes and inspiration.  Wahl is not some professional psychologist.  He is someone who has walked this path to Picasso himself.  Wahl gives us very poignant questions to ask ourselves as we consider where we are in our current life and who we hope to become in the future.  This book deserves more than one reading in order to glean all of the information you can out of it.  I recommend this for anyone struggling with who they are and where they fit in at home or at work.  Great read!

11. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paula, Teen Books

Dorothy Must Die by Paige, Danielle, 452 pages, read by Paula, on 12/11/2014

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Amy Gumm thought life was tough in the trailer park with her druggie, depressed mother and the mean girls in school. But that was before before she was carried to Oz by a tornado, before she was rescued by a series of strange individuals, and before she was instructed, Dorothy must die. Sweet Dorothy returned to Oz only to rule it with an evil, greedy hand, gradually stealing all its magic for herself. Amy, also from Kansas and arriving on a tornado, has to reverse the earthling’s power by killing her. Paige has spirited readers back to The Wizard of Oz, fracturing the already strange classic by having good and wicked witches exchange places, amputating the flying monkeys’ wings, and creating a fear-eating lion, a nefarious Dr. Jekyll scarecrow, and a vicious tin soldier. Amy’s assignment? Navigate through magical defenses, while struggling with her own values of good and evil, to get to Dorothy

11. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Deadpool: Dead Presidents by Brian Posehn, 136 pages, read by Brian, on 12/11/2014

deadThe fun loving wisecracking superhero from the Marvel Universe, Deadpool, is back in a new adventure.  A well meaning necromancer summons up the dead presidents of the United States but these guys have been underground too long and are in a foul mood.    The usual Marvel heroes can’t handle the situation, they need someone who is fearless and easy to blame if things go wrong, enter Deadpool.

 

10. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kim, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Worth dying for by Rita Herron, 279 pages, read by Kim, on 12/09/2014

One man wants to kill her the other will die to protect her.

Just when the residents of Slaughter Creek think they’re safe, a sadistic serial killer strikes. Someone they’re calling The Dissector. Someone who keeps his victims’ body parts as gruesome trophies.

Special Agent Liz Lucas has been on leave, recovering from the trauma of her last case. But returning to find the Dissector will demand extra caution especially with her former lover Special Agent Rafe Hood leading the investigation. The last time the two worked together, passions ran high and Liz nearly lost her life.

Now, even though their attraction is more magnetic than ever, Liz and Rafe must resist getting involved again and focus on stopping this crazed killer. But as the body count rises and the Dissector’s kills become more personal, Rafe soon realizes that Liz may be his next victim.

It has always been just Abby and her mom, but an allergic reaction to coconut makes Abby wonder about the father she has never met. Turns out he never knew she existed and has become a huge Bollywood start in the past fourteen years. Naveen wants to meet Abby and arranges for her to travel to Mumbai during Thanksgiving break. India is a completely different world than Abby is used to in Houston. She discovers a second family with Naveen, his mother and his loyal staff. However, the world doesn’t know about Abby either and they have to be careful how the reveal the truth to the press. Naveen has a movie premiering and the plan on reveal the secret at the same time. Of course things don’t go according to plan.

The cover and description of this book led me to believe it was going to be a lighter read. And while it does have its humorous moments it is really a touching story about a girl connecting with her father for the first time. I really enjoy books that give the reader a glimpse into a new culture and this look at Mumbai was wonderful. The book doesn’t shy away from revealing the good and the bad of Indian culture. Abby is exposed to the extreme poverty of India as well as the wealth of her actor father. I like that even though Naveen was an absent father for most of her life (not by choice of course), he doesn’t come across as disinterested. This is really a story about a girl with very loving parents and a good home life, one just happens to be half a world away.

10. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Poetry

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Shane Evans (Illustrations), 336 pages, read by Angie, on 12/09/2014

Amira lives with her family in a village in South Darfur. She is envious of her friend Halima who gets to attend school in a neighboring city. Even though her family is fairly prosperous in the village they do not have the money to send her to school, nor would her conservative mother allow it. Their idyllic life is destroyed when the Janjaweed invade the village killing many of the people including Amira’s father. The survivors trek through the Sudanese desert to a refugee camp at Kalma. The camp is nothing like their village and Amira has a difficult time adjusting until she receives a red pencil and a pad of paper from one of the refugee workers. Suddenly Amira’s dream of learning to read and write becomes a possibility.

I really enjoy novels in verse. I think they are a beautiful way of telling a story. I think Pinkney’s verses are lyrical and really illustrate Amira’s thoughts and environment. I also appreciate stories that take place in settings or deal with situations or events that are not often covered in middle grade books. I can’t say I have ever read a middle grade book about the situation in Darfur and it is not one you hear about in general. This was a good introduction to the genocide that has been taking place there for the past decade. I only wish more information could have been included about the conflict, the Janjaweed and what is actually happening to thousands of people. Because the book is told from Amira’s point of view, and she has little knowledge of the conflict, readers do not get a lot of information.

10. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jessica, Romance

With This Heart by R.S. Grey, 318 pages, read by Jessica, on 12/09/2014

81u2Gl+bDTL._SL1500_If someone had told me a year ago that I was about to fall in love, go on an epic road trip, ride a Triceratops, sing on a bar, and lose my virginity, I would have assumed they were on drugs.

Well, that is, until I met Beckham.

Beck was mostly to blame for my recklessness. Gorgeous, clever, undeniably charming Beck barreled into my life as if it were his mission to make sure I never took living for granted. He showed me that there were no boundaries, rules were for the spineless, and a kiss was supposed to happen when I least expected.

Beck was the plot twist that took me by surprise. Two months before I met him, death was knocking at my door. I’d all but given up my last scrap of hope when suddenly, I was given a second chance at life. This time around, I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers.

We set out on a road trip with nothing to lose and no guarantees of tomorrow.

Our road trip was about young, reckless love. The kind of love that burns bright.

The kind of love that no road-map could bring me back from.

09. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Last kiss goodbye by Rita Herron, 369 pages, read by Melody, on 12/08/2014

Fearful yet determined, Ivy Stanton returns to the small Appalachian town she left fifteen years ago… the night her parents were murdered. But in coming home to Kudzu Hollow, she discovers she is not alone in her search for the truth: Matt Mahoney, the man who saved her life, who haunts her dreams, who was wrongfully accused of the crime, has come back, too, demanding answers — and justice. When Matt looks into Ivy’s eyes, he sees a woman whose pain mirrors his own. The feelings she stirs within him promise a life he never thought he’d have. But evil still resides in this sleepy mountain town, as do secrets worth killing for. Now danger stalks them both, and Matt is fighting for more than vengeance… he’s fighting for their future.

09. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits by Michael D. Beil, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 12/08/2014

Henry is traveling with his mother and sister on the Lake Erie Shoreliner. He meets chatty heiress Ellie who decides they are going to be great friends. They also meet conductor Clarence and his telepathic cat Sam. When Ellie disappears soon after Henry, Clarence and Sam are determined to find her. Someone has kidnapped Ellie and demanded her mother’s priceless necklace, the Blue Streak, as ransom. There are a lot of characters on the train with secrets and hidden agendas. Our intrepid investigates must sort through all the hidden motivations and identities of the passengers to figure out who is behind Ellie’s kidnapping.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book and was a bit skeptical of the telepathic cat, but it all worked here. As an adult reader I was able to pick out the bad guys pretty quickly, but I am not sure younger readers will figure it out quite as fast. There are a lot of twists and turns to this mystery that made it even more fun to read. I especially liked the confined environment of the train as the setting; it gave the mystery a feeling of immediacy as the train got closer and closer to its destination. Train travel in the 1930s was nothing like it is today and the setting highlighted just how much it has changed. The mystery of Ellie’s kidnapping is interspersed with Lantern Sam’s autobiography as he tells of his many adventures and nine lives. This part of the story seemed to justify having a telepathic cat in the plot and added a lot of humor to the story. Sam is a smart aleck calico with a love of adventure and sardines and perhaps the star of this story. 

08. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 4 by Jinsei Kataoka, Kazuma Kondou, 200 pages, read by Courtney, on 11/07/2014

Ganta is recruited into the Scar Chain, an antiestablishment group planning a mass prison escape. After a brief meeting with Shiro, he stands at a crossroads, but Nagi persuades him to take part in the escape. However, a traitor has already leaked the plan to the Undertakers, a unit specially formed to stamp out the rebels.

08. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland Volume 3 by Jinsei Kataoka, Kazuma Kondou, 200 pages, read by Courtney, on 11/07/2014

Ganta enters the Carnival Corpse, a battle between two Branch of Sin users. Ganta’s next opponent is a timid girl; can he even take her on? Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of the prison, the warden stands face to face with the Red Man. Who really murdered Ganta’s friends?

08. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

Deadman Wonderland Volume 2 by Jinsei Kataoka, Kazuma Kondou, 200 pages, read by Courtney, on 11/07/2014

While on the hunt for the Red Man, Ganta is thrown into a battle exhibition called the Carnival of Corpses, in which he is matched up against the powerful Senji. The battle is intense, but even if Ganta wins, is he prepared for the consequences?

08. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel, 240 pages, read by Angie, on 12/05/2014

Lucy has the biggest day of her life when she meets Tom behind the shed and kisses him in front of her entire 4th grade class. It is sure to cement her as one of the popular kids. Then her mom has her baby sister Molly and Lucy has to miss a couple of days of school. When she gets back her status has fallen. Tom has broken up with her and her best friend Becky treats her like dirt. If that isn’t bad enough her home life is in an uproar because Molly has Down’s Syndrome and her parents were not prepared at all. Lucy loves her little sister no matter what and can’t understand what the fuss is about. At school Lucy is firmly in with the dork crowd and her only options are nose-picker April and super-quiet Sam. When she and Sam team up to do a project on wolves Lucy learns all about packs and forms her own pack of dorks with the outcasts from her class.

I loved this book! I thought Vrabel truly captured the world of 4th grade girls and just how unpredictable they can be. I sympathized with Lucy when Becky turned against her. She leaves school on Friday on top of the world and comes back the next week at the bottom of the pack. I also really enjoyed her reaction to her sister. There aren’t a lot of books that deal with siblings with disabilities and this one was really touching. Lucy is a character that readers really take an interest in and want to come out on top. I think her journey of discovering herself and what is really important to her was a very satisfying one. Definitely a book I would recommend.

08. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction

Super Schnoz and the Invasion of the Snore Snatchers by Gary Urey, 154 pages, read by Angie, on 12/05/2014

Super Schnoz is a kid with a huge nose. It allows him to sniff out just about anything and catch the winds and fly. Unfortunately, he has started snoring and his big nose is causing earthquakes around town. He and his friends investigate and discover aliens are putting something up his nose every night to cause him to snore. They must battle the aliens to save the earth. I am sure this book will find excited readers from fans of The Adventures of Captain Underpants and the like but I am not one of them. It just seemed so ridiculous for me to get into the story. Maybe because I am not an eight-year-old boy or maybe because I just like a little more believability in my books.

08. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer, 320 pages, read by Angie, on 12/06/2014

Grace has always moved around a lot with her mother. She thought they had finally found their forever home with Mrs. Greene and Lacey when her mom decided to move again. Grace is finally able to stand up to her mom, but ends up losing her in a tragic accident. Grace is sent to live with a grandmother who she has never met and who kicked her mother out when she was seventeen and pregnant. Grace does everything she can to sabotage her new home and get back to Mrs. Greene. However, he new home keeps creeping into her heart as she makes friends and finds out more about her family. She embarks on a treasure hunt throughout the town and hopes it is a message from her mother who used to always create treasure hunts for Grace. Along the way Grace comes to terms with her situation and her family’s past.

I loved this book. I seem to gravitate towards dead parent stories and this one ranks up there with Counting by 7s and A Million Ways Home in my list of favorites. Grace is a character that sticks with you and makes you hurt along with her. Her reactions to her mother’s death and her growing awareness of her family’s past seem so realistic. Your heart will break with her and slowly mend as she becomes more and more a part of her new family. My only complaint about the book is one I think kids will make and that is that it is a bit long and a slower story. This isn’t a book with a lot of action and some readers might get bored by the slower pace. The right readers will really appreciate the story though.