29. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Mine to have by Cynthia Eden, read by Melody, on 09/27/2014

Is he a hero…or the villain?

When Elizabeth Ward sees Saxon Black rushing into the backroom of The Blade—a low end bar in Miami—she isn’t sure if he’s there to save the day…or just to raise some hell. But she’s being held hostage, and he’s her best hope of survival. Within minutes, she’s away from the jerks with the guns and riding fast and hard on the back of Saxon’s motorcycle.

Death stalks them.

Saxon has been working undercover for far too long. When he finds sexy Elizabeth—with a gun to her head—he knows he will do anything to keep her safe. But once he gets her away from her abductors, the threat to her isn’t over. Someone has put a price on Elizabeth’s head, and if Saxon can’t keep her safe from the danger stalking her, then she’ll be dead.

Their lives are both on the line.

As their enemies close in, Elizabeth and Saxon must go on the run. And the longer they are together, the hotter their attraction for one another seems to burn. Saxon vows not to let anyone hurt her, no matter what he has to do, because he’s falling fast for Elizabeth. He’ll stop the killers on her trail, and then he’ll have her. Forever.

MINE TO HAVE.

This is the second book in the last but not least series. Lola Zuckerman is always last in line and doesn’t like it. Her parents are both out of town and her grandma is staying with her and her brother Jack. She is also having a bad week at school. Her best friend Amanda is spending more time with friend stealer Jessie. New girl Savannah is also trying to butt in. Lola keeps doing mean things and getting in trouble. The girls are alternatively nice and mean to each other and no one comes off perfectly nice in this book. It is a good story for those beginning chapter book readers even if it is a little long for that type of book. That is my main complaint about the book. The characters are in second grade and the book is clearly geared towards that age group yet it is a whopping 195 pages. It is a much better story than the first one of the series and hopefully the author will keep getting better.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

25. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Strike!: The Farm Workers' Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner, read by Angie, on 09/24/2014

Strike!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights details the history of the farm workers struggle that started in California with the grape workers. These workers were generally migrants who travelled northward through California as the grape harvest came in. The Filipino and Chicano workers were not paid very much and their living conditions were deplorable. In the 1960s, two dynamic leaders started organizing the workers and trying to get them better working conditions. Cesar Chavez worked with the Chicano workers and Larry Itliong worked with the Filipino. They eventually banded together to form the United Farm Workers of America Union and led a successful strike and boycott of the industry. Their efforts took many years, but they showed through peaceful, nonviolent means that they could accomplish their goals. This book is an excellent source for kids to learn about the creation of unions and the conditions workers had to endure. It offers a wonderful historical perspective on what was going on in the agriculture sector during the 20th century.

downloadThis is a nice book for anyone wanting to get started in creating an artist’s journal.  While a bit different from art journaling, there are still some fundamentals here that could be used for that craft.  This book focuses more on the types of journals an artist can create, such as travel.  The book discusses multiple media; however, many pages shown only combine a couple such as ink and watercolor.  If you are wanting to complete multimedia pages, this is probably not the book for you.  However, if you want to create pages that document your daily life or certain parts of it, in an artistic way with illustrations, Cathy Johnson provides a great starting point.  This book asks questions such as, “What do you want from an artist’s journal?” to help the reader get started in finding the type of journal that is right for him/her.  There are also chapters on test driving different media and the journaling lifestyle, just to name a couple.  Great book to start with!

25. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy Tan, read by Kira, on 09/20/2014

I’d been looking for a cat book available in MP3 downloadable format (so many are in the aggravating & useless WMA format) so when I found one in MP3 format and that Amy Tan had written it, I was delighted.  It is a brief tale of the ancient heroic cat Sagwa who had changed the emperor into a less self-centered ruler.  MV5BMTUyMzYxMTg0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDU1NjYxMQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_tumblr_l6ye02v1qX1qz8haeo1_400

Things are not going well for Celie. She is fighting with her former best friend Lulu and she doesn’t even know why. She and Lulu have to attend Friendship Forward to work on their problems. Her big sister is friends with mean Trina, who Celie can’t stand. Her grandma is acting strange and her parents are worried. Celie has been spying on everyone and keeping secrets. Celie is keeping track of everything in her top-secret diary and spy notebook. There is a lot going on after all and she doesn’t want to forget anything. I thought Celie was a fun character and would appeal to girls starting to read chapter books. She is dealing with real world problems that a lot of young kids have to deal with: friends, siblings, parents and grandparents. I did think the book would appeal to younger readers, maybe early elementary grades. Even though Celie is 10, I think a lot of 10-year-olds will be beyond this book. Would probably appeal more to 8-9 year olds.

23. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Eric, Fantasy, Fiction, Multicultural Fiction

The Mirror or Fire and Dreaming by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, read by Eric, on 09/02/2014

The continuing adventures of Anand, and his companion, Nisha, following the events in The Conch Bearer. Both children live and train with the Brotherhood of the Conch, in the Silver Valley within the Himalayas. While practicing his far-seeing ability, Anand discovers a wise-woman desperately in need of help for her village. Coming to her aid thrusts Anand, Nisha, and Master Abhaydatta into the past, and into a confrontation with a powerful sorcerer.

What may sound like a typical fantasy plot is much more in execution. The author weaves just the right mix of history and mysticism, and maintains complex and lovable characters with ease. Possibly the best character of all is the Conch itself, the power of which is matched by its humor and love. This is a wonderful followup to The Conch Bearer.

I have never heard of Pellagra or the fact that it was an epidemic in this country in the first half of the 20th century. After reading this book I am pretty happy that it is not a disease we need to worry about any longer. This book was so very interesting. I love learning about new things; I also really like reading about disgusting things. Pellagra is a disease that was around Europe for hundreds of years before appearing in the United States in the 1900s. It was believed the disease was caused by eating bad corn products which is why it affected mostly poor people in the South. They lived on grits and cornmeal and little else. Pellagra caused the four Ds: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death. It killed between 1 in 10 and 6 in 10 people affected. It took almost 40 years of investigations by multiple doctors to figure out what really caused Pellagra and how to treat it. Dr. Joseph Goldberg worked on the Pellagra problem for over 15 years and was the one who discovered that it was a lack of niacin in the diet that caused the problem. Because of his work with the Public Health Services that our grain products are now fortified with vitamins and minerals to decrease the chances of diseases caused by dietary deficiencies. This was a truly fascinating book.

23. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

The Quirks in Circus Quirkus by Erin Soderberg, Kelly Light (Illustrator), read by Angie, on 09/22/2014

The Quirks are not your normal family. Mrs. Quirk can influence your thinking by looking you in the eye. Grandpa can skip time. Grandma is a tiny little fairy. Young Finn is invisible unless he has gum in his mouth. Penelope can make things just by thinking of them. Only Molly is normal though she is immune to everyone else’s quirks. The Quirks have only been in Normal a short time and hope to not move again any time soon (they always have to move when their quirks cause too much commotion). However, their neighbor Mrs. DeVille is snooping around and the Quirks are afraid she is going to cause trouble for them. They are also enjoying the fact that they are getting circus lessons at school and may get to perform in front of the entire town. The Quirks are fun and quirky and they don’t want anyone to find out how unique they are. I thought this was a fun book with a lot of character. The Quirks are entertaining and unusual. I didn’t realize this was the second book in the series, but I don’t think it detracted from the story. I think kids will enjoy this unique series.

22. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Katy · Tags:

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell, read by Katy, on 09/20/2014

downloadSet in the Ozarks, Winter’s Bone is the story of Ree Dolly’s desperate attempt to find her father, a meth cook who has put up the family home as bail. If he does not show for his upcoming court date, Ree, her ailing mother, and two young brothers will be turned out of their house. Attempting to question relatives of his whereabouts leads her on a dangerous journey.

22. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Melody, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Midnight exposure by Melinda Leigh, read by Melody, on 09/21/2014

Point, click, die.

When two hikers disappear, their hometown in Maine blames the blinding storms. But the truth is far more sinister. Unaware of the danger, tabloid photographer Jayne Sullivan follows an anonymous tip to find the most reclusive sculptor in the art world. Instead, she finds sexy handyman Reed Kimball—and a small town full of fatal secrets.

Five years ago, Reed buried his homicide detective career along with his wife. But when a hiker is found dead, the local police chief asks Reed for help. Why was a Celtic coin found under the body? And where is the second hiker? Avoiding the media, Reed doesn’t need a murder, a missing person, or a nosey photographer. Then Jayne is attacked, and her courage is his undoing.

Reed must risk everything to protect her – and find a cunning killer.

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

Fear for me by Cynthia Eden, read by Kim, on 09/20/2014

She’s the obsession two men share: one wants her love, the other wants her life.

A shared passion for justice first brought Baton Rouge district attorney Lauren Chandler and US marshal Anthony Ross together—when each played their part in bringing down the infamous Bayou Butcher. The sparks flying between the two made it clear they weren’t just a legal dream team. Then desire had to make way for duty, and what they had was done. But it would never be over.

Five years later, it’s none other than the Butcher who gets things started again, when his shocking jailbreak reunites the lawyer and the lawman…and reignites their love. But this time, the pair is in danger of being permanently parted—by a killer with revenge on his mind, and Lauren on the top of his list. As a new wave of terror sweeps through the streets and swamps of Baton Rouge, one man will pit his boundless passion against another’s relentless hate, for the life of the woman who obsesses them both.

22. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell, read by Angie, on 09/20/2014

Will has lived her whole life on the a farm in Zimbabwe and she loves the freedom of it. She is friends with the horseboys and loves to ride her horse over the bush and explore everything Zimbabwe has to offer. Her father is the manager of the farm owned by Captain Browne. They adore Will and indulge her wildcat ways. Then her father gets sick and dies and Cynthia moves in on the Captain. She is a young, gold-digging witch of a woman who can’t stand Will. As soon as she marries the Captain she convinces him to ship Will off to a boarding school in London. Of course Will doesn’t fit in at the school. She has had a formal education, she is dirty and wild, and the other girls are horribly cruel to her. She runs away from the school and lives on the streets of London for a while until she gets her bearings again and is able to endure the school.   I really enjoyed this book. I loved the first half with Will in Zimbabwe. Her life there just seems so idyllic and charming. She has the run of the place and can basically do whatever she wants. I liked her friendship with Simon and the relationship she had with her father and the Captain. I thought it was surprising how fast the Captain gave in on sending her to London. I thought Cynthia was very one-dimensional as the villain of the story and the Captain’s capitulation very stereotypical. Since most of the book took place in Zimbabwe we really didn’t get a lot about the school before Will runs away. The girls are cruel and girls can be and Will really doesn’t help her case. She doesn’t even bathe for two weeks after getting there (gross!). I am not sure she ever brushed her hair either and it had never been cut so it was a disastrous mess on her head. I know she ran wild in Africa but that seemed a bit extreme. I also couldn’t figure out how she got away with not going to school in Africa. This is never explained properly. So while I loved the story and Will in particular I did think the book had problems that detracted from my enjoyment a bit.

22. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction

My Zombie Hamster by Havelock McCreely, read by Angie, on 09/20/2014

All Matt wants for Christmas is a Runesword so he can play the game with his friends online. What he gets is a hamster named Snuffles. Then Snuffles dies and turns into a zombie hamster. Snuffles escapes outside and starts building his zombie pet army, turning all the pets and animals in town into zombies. Of course there are people who are zombies also, but they are all outside of the town walls. Matt and his friends Charlie, Calvin and Aren devise several plans to stop Snuffles before he is discovered and Matt and his family get in trouble. All of these fail miserably. Then Charlie dies and becomes a zombie, but she isn’t like the others. She still has her personality and doesn’t want to eat brains. She is a new breed of zombie. Of course not everyone wants to find that out.

I am sure young boys will love this book. It is funny and gross and has zombies. I didn’t think it was that great, but then I am not a young boy. The story was engaging and entertaining and at least kept my interest. It was a little light on the whys though. Why did Snuffles build a zombie pet army? Why was the mayor so obnoxious yet was still the mayor? Why were there zombies in the first place?

Third book in the Clone Chronicles series; I haven’t read the first two. Fisher and his clone Two are living at his house and Two is in hiding. The evil clone Three is out there in the world somewhere and bound to wreck havoc. Fisher and Two get into trouble at school and Fisher finally fesses up about Two to his parents. Shortly after that Three launches his evil attack turning everyone grouchy and mean. Fisher and Two (now named Alex) must come up with a plan to stop Three before he takes over the world, or destroys it. Can’t say I was that impressed with this book. It is very light on the plausibility scale and the story was just too far-fetched for me. I am sure this series has fans but I am not one of them. I would probably give it to boys who like comic books and superheroes and stories that don’t rely to heavily on reality.

22. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Jessica, Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Burn by R. J. Lewis, read by Jessica , on 09/21/2014

81zELE7acML._SL1500_Burn picks up where Ignite ended.

Sara is in the hands of Remy “Reaper” Martinez, the VP of the much feared Black-backed Jackals MC.

Following a violent altercation that leaves Sara’s life in jeopardy, she is thrust into the world of the Jackals where trusting people is tricky… especially when there’s a mole in the midst.

A mole that answers to one man and one man only: Jaxon Barlow.

20. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Jessica, Romance

Ignite by R.J. Lewis, read by Jessica, on 09/18/2014

81hbRGoVpUL._SL1500_They grew up together as the closest of friends… and then more. When Sara Nolan and Jaxon Barlow decided to be together, their relationship as a young couple was consumed by a love that was both passionate and beautiful. Sara had it all when it came to a boyfriend: romance, trust, and a protector of all things bad. Jaxon had given her his bleeding heart for the keeping.
The last thing Sara expected was to ruin it all. Falling into a darkness that turned her loving relationship into a chaos of deceit and violence, she walked away from the pain she was inflicting on the man she loved, never seeking to return again.
But when Sara is forced to return to her hometown, she didn’t anticipate for Jaxon to be there. Nor does she anticipate the change in him; a change so harsh and callous, he is a stranger with a dangerous agenda of his own. Ignited by her past feelings and the reminder of the guilt she carries in her heart, Sara attempts to avoid Jaxon at all costs… only to find herself trying to pull him out of the same darkness she was once in.

19. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata, read by Angie, on 09/18/2014

Jaden was adopted by his parents when he was eight years old. He is now twelve and still has issues. He doesn’t feel safe and secure enough in his home to stop hoarding food, stealing, lying and he doesn’t believe he loves his parents. When they decide to adopt a baby from Kazakhstan, Jaden has to go along and deal with his issues of trust and jealousy. In Kazakhstan, the family discovers that the baby they were promised has already been adopted and they are forced to choose another baby in minutes. Jaden doesn’t approve of the process or the fact that the baby is blank with no reactions at all to the family. He meets a toddler named Dimash who is special needs but touches his heart. As Jaden is bonding with Dimash, his parents are trying to bond with the baby and to make Jaden bond as well. Jaden has to deal with his issues and figure out if he can love his parents and new brother and get over his jealousy and security issues.

I loved Jaden’s touching story. You really feel for this little boy who doesn’t think he is capable of love (even though he does actually love his parents). He has a lot of issues that would make it difficult for his parents to love him, but they don’t seem to have any problems in that area. He is jealous of a new baby coming in to the family believing his parents want the baby because they are not happy with him. I thought Jaden’s journey of acceptance was a beautiful one. The one thing I kept questioning the entire time I was reading was the actual adoption process in Kazakhstan. The whole thing seemed so shady and borderline illegal. It seems like you shouldn’t be able to bring just any child back from another country; you should have paperwork for a specific one. And the fact that the parents were shown a parade of babies and forced to choose in minutes was really strange. As I have never adopted a child from a foreign country I don’t know what the process would be, but I have had friends who have and they were always working to get a specific child to adopt. If you can overlook the weird adoption bits and focus on Jaden’s journey this book is a wonderful one.

19. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories by Larissa Theule, read by Angie, on 09/17/2014

Mr. Bald, the farmer, dies and his son Bones is finally free to go after Fat, the fairy in the tree. Mrs. Bald can’t stop crying over her husband’s death. Fat and Bones have been enemies for a long time though it is not explained what made them such. Fat makes a potion for Bones’s pig foot stew and unfortunately Mrs. Bald eats it instead causing her to go flat. Bones tries to cut down Fat’s tree and instead cuts off the cat’s tail. There are other stories interspersed in the Fat and Bones tales. A pig loses her last foot to the pig foot stew. A spider loses some blood to one of Fat’s potions. It is a gruesome little collection of stories that I am sure will find fans among those kids who like horror.

19. September 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Poetry

Voices from the March on Washington by J Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, read by Angie, on 09/18/2014

This is a collection of poems that capture the spirit of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. The voices range from young to old and from black to white. They capture the commitment of those determine to make a change in their world. While these are all fictional people it isn’t hard to believe there were those in the crowd who felt the way these characters felt. The poems are interspersed by verses by famous people who were actually at the March. This is an excellent collection of poems that really illustrate just how powerful that day was for those who were there.